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Patterson , Fran _^_. 

A history of Tfet. .iche, 











"To the memory of conquerors who devastate the earth, and of politicians who vex 
the life of its denizens with their struggles for power and place, we raise sumptuous 
monuments: to the memory of those who by their toil and endurance have made it 
fruitful we can raise none. But civilization, while it enters into the heritage which 
the pioneers -prepared for it, may at least look with gratitude on their lowly graves." - 
Goldwin Smith. 


Page vii. line 38. " Historic " should read Historical. 
Page 22, line 3. " Nancy " should read Nantes. 
Page 112, line 25. " P. Mclntosh " should read J. P. Mclntosh. 
Page 136, line 1. "complied" should read compiled. 












"To the memory of conquerors who devastate the earth, and of politicians who vex 
the life of its denizens with their struggles for power and place, we raise sumptuous 
monuments: to the memory of those who by their toil and endurance have made it 
fruitful we can raise none. But civilization, while it enters into the heritage which 
the pioneers prepared for it, may at least look with gratitude on their lowly graves." 
Goldwin Smith. 





TT is not without misgivings that the writer presents this 
book to the public. Its subject matter is such that 
to do full justice to those mentioned therein, it should have 
been written at least one-half a century ago and by one who 
was either personally acquainted with the facts or had 
received them first hand. To endeavour at this late date 
to tell the story of the trials and hardships of our pioneers, 
many of whom have departed almost a century ago is well 
nigh an impossible task. That this book will fall far short 
of rendering a true appreciation of their labours none can 
be more conscious than the writer. But every year the 
difficulty of obtaining accurate information of former years 
becomes greater, for each year there are slipping from our 
midst men and women whose minds were veritable store- 
houses of the traditions and folk-lore of the past. Much 
of the information contained in these pages, the writer feels 
sure, could not be obtained ten or twenty years hence. It 
is better that the effort be made now and that a record, 
imperfect as it is, be rendered than that the lives and deeds 
of our early pioneers should never be known to the public. 

Then, too, the writer has doubts as to the accuracy 
of several statements contained in the pages of this book. 
Still, apart from minor detail he thinks that the matter will 
not be found inconsistent with fact. That errors, especially 
in the genealogical records, have crept in inevitably follows 
from the very nature of the work. 

The writer has experienced difficulty in determining to 
what area of country to confine his remarks. There is 
no statutory district of Tatamagouche and what country 
is to be included under that name is a question to which 
no definite answer can be given. Dealing with the earlier 
years when the settlers were few and information limited 
a larger scope of country has been included- During the 
last years references have been confined almost entirely to 
the village of Tatamagouche itself. Though New Annan 


and Earltown have not been included in the writer's observa- 
tions, he has nevertheless inserted some quotations from the 
"History of Pictou County" regarding their settlement. 

The genealogical records the writer, as a rule, has carried 
only to the first generation. Of those coming to Tata- 
magouche subsequent to 1850 no notice has been given 
other than to the head of the family. 

Four years ago when this work was begun there was 
but little known to the public of the early history of this 
place; what references there were, being confined to a 
few pages in the "History of Pictou County" and "Memoirs 
of Dr. MacGregor" by the late Dr. Patterson. Without the 
information there a future history of Tatamagouche could 
have little value, for in these books and in these books only, 
is found the material that can form a good foundation 
for any historical work on Tatamagouche. Information 
concerning the early French period the writer has obtained 
from French documents contained in "Le Canada Francais" 
and also from the two books by Dr. Patterson mentioned 

A lengthy letter by S. D. Scott, now editor of the "News- 
Advertiser," Vancouver, and published in the "Colchester 
Sun" of July 31, 1893, contained many interesting facts 
relating to the days of the DesBarres estate. That papers 
belonging to Colonel DesBarres and pertaining to his Tata- 
magouche property are extant there seems little doubt. The 
contents of the 4 above mentioned letter show that at the 
time of its publication such papers must have been in existence 
and its author, Mr. Scott, has informed the writer that a 
great deal of his information was obtained from an account 
of the Tatamagouche estate written for Col. DesBarres in 
1790 by a Capt. McDonald of Prince Edward Island. The 
original manuscript was borrowed by Mr. Scott from the 
late Sir Robert Wetherbee but since then it has been lost. 
The late Louis DesBarres of Halifax had, so it is said, many 
interesting papers of Colonel DesBarres in his possession, 
but what has become of them since his death is not known. 

For information concerning happenings of later dates, 
the writer is indebted to many people in this community 


who have supplied him with old documents, family records, 
etc. Papers originally belonging to Wellwood Waugh, 
Rev. Hugh Ross and the Rev. Robert Blackwood may in 
particular be mentioned. 

Knowledge of matters within living memory has been 
obtained from many of our older inhabitants. Information 
concerning the development and decline of the shipbuilding 
industry has also been obtained from the same source. With 
the compiling of the list of vessels built at Tatamagouche 
the writer must publicly acknowledge the assistance of 
R. P. Fraser, Esq., Collector of Customs at Pictou, who 
undertook the tiring work of making out this list from the 
Custom records at that port. Records of vessels built before 
1840 were obtained by the writer from the Custom records 
at Halifax. 

Of those at Tatamagouche who have assisted the writer 
in the collecting and the arranging of the material contained 
herein, the public will pardon him when he mentions in 
particular his father, the late W. A. Patterson. His thorough 
knowledge of conditions in Tatamagouche for the last fifty 
years a knowledge acquired from a most intimate associa- 
tion with its people and his retentive memory, which 
permitted him to recall with accuracy the events of fifty 
or sixty years ago, have made possible this present work. 
Mention must also be made of James Bryden of the village 
who has gone to no little trouble to assist the writer, par- 
ticularly in gathering information of matters relating to 
the "forties" and "fifties" and the days of the shipbuilding 
industry. The writer may also mention his friend, W. M. 
Nelson, for whose assistance the writer gives this public 
acknowledgment. To the various others at Tatamagouche 
who in one way or another have lent their aid the writer 
extends his thanks. 

Of those elsewhere he feels that he should mention 
two. Major J. P. Edwards of Halifax, although having 
no particular interest in Tatamagouche, has given the writer 
the greatest assistance; his library, one of the best collections of 
Canadian Historic works in Canada, and which is now owned 
by Acadia College, Wolfville, was placed as far as possible 
at the use of the writer. Information was secured from 


Major Edwards and his library which could not be obtained 
elsewhere. W. F. Ganong, Ph.D., of Smith College, North- 
ampton, has also assisted the writer, particularly by his 
explanation of the local nomenclature. 

If, with all its defects and errors, this work is successful 
in a small measure at least in saving from oblivion the 
records of our past and in stimulating a more lively interest 
in the lives and labors of our pioneers men and women 
whose memory deserves our highest respect then the writer 
feels that he has not labored in vain. 

Tatamagouche, N. S., Aug. 29th, 1917. 




'"THE word Tatamagouche or Tatmagoucbe is of Indian 
origin, and, according to Rand, the great student of the 
Micmac language, is a corruption of the Micmac Takume- 
gooch. The root of this word is Takumoog, which means 
across or lie down across. The termination och (often 
oochk) is a typical example of the Micmac locative 
termination which gives the word the meaning of place 
where or at the. Thus, the meaning of the whole word 
taken literal!}?- is, lying across place or at the place which 
lies across (some other). The application of the word is 
quite evident. French and Waugh's rivers clearly meet 
at right angles, that is, they lie across each other. More- 
over, the rivers themselves after their junction, meet the 
harbour in a similar manner. 

"For the principal river to enter an elongated bay not at its head in 
line with it, but some distance from its head and .at right angles to its course, 
is certainly an unusual geographical feature, and just such as the Indians 
noticed and used as distinctive in their purely descriptive place nomenclature."* 

The only difficulty in the application of the word is to 
decide whether it refers to the meeting of the rivers or to 
the meeting of the rivers and harbour. Local traditions 
say that it applies to the meeting of the rivers, but it is 
more than probable that these two natural occurrences in 
close vicinity gave rise to the word.f 

The change from Takumegooch to Tatamagouche was 
made by the French who, according to their custom, caught 
and recorded as -t- the Indian sound which the English 
catch as -k-. It was of course from the French that we 
received the word. 

*From notes made by W. F. Ganong, Ph. D., to whom the writer is indebted for this 
explanation of the word. 

f Since writing the above the writer has had a conversation with Lone Ctoud,_ an intelli- 
gent Micmac Indian, who has assured him that Tar-me-gooch (as he pronounced it) meant 
where two rivers met and the current of one crossed the current of the other. This should 
remove all doubt as to the meaning of the word local tradition has been amply confirmed. 


Some say that the word means a large beaver dam. 
Traces of beavers have been found in the vicinity, and so 
at one time a large dam may have been constructed some- 
where near this place by these industrious animals, or 
possibly the Indians used the word to describe the large 
body of water partially enclosed by Ross' and Weather- 
bie's points, which to a certain extent resembles a large 

When the name was first applied to this place is unknown.* 
The earliest written record is in the year 1738, when Le 
Loutre refers to it as "Tahamigouche". As may be expect- 
ed, the early spelling of the word is varied. No less a per- 
son than Haliburton has shown that he even did not know 
which was the correct spelling, for in his history published in 
1829, he spells the word in two ways, "Tatamagouch" and 
"Tatmaguish". On old charts it is sometimes spelled some- 
thing like this, "Patameragouche". However, as years went 
along only two spellings namely, Tatamagouche and Tatma- 
gouche, survived among the educated. Men of authority as 
late as twenty years ago, indicated by their persistent usage 
that they believed the latter spelling to be the correct one, 
but the former has now been generally accepted. 

The name, Tatamagouche did not survive without a 
struggle. Col. Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres, who 
was the first landlord at Tatamagouche, accepted this old 
Indian name, but not so the first Scotch settler, Waugh, 
who in many of his land transactions speaks of himself as 
belonging to "Southampton, district of Colchester, County 
of Halifax." In 1794, in a lease to James Langille, he des- 
cribes the lands as lying "on Point Brule on Southampton 
Harbour". Waugh, as far as we know, was the only person 
at Tatamagouche to use this name, and it is indeed difficult to 
understand why he should have attempted to affix it to his new 
abode. We should naturally have expected him to endeavour to 
perpetuate the name of one of the many places in Scotland 
which were dear to his heart. It is interesting to notice 
DesBarres and Waugh in contemporaneous documents 
persisting to call the same place by different names. 
These men, like all others, had many differences, but on 
this occasion, fortunately perhaps, the old warrior won 

*Froro the Indian Taw-ma-gouche, signifying like a dam or sea wall. Geaner'a "Indus- 
trial Resources of Nova Scotia" (1849). 



out. Tatamagouche is to be preferred to a name borrowed 
from a town in England, with which, so far as we know, there 
was no historic connection. DesBarres, while he made no 
attempt .to change the original name, did make an effort 
to perpetuate his name elsewhere. Barrachois Harbour, 
outside the Narrows, he called Joseph Harbour, while the 
waters beyond Cape John and Malagash Point, he named 
Frederick Bay. It is doubtful if these names were ever 
used by any one save DesBarres himself, and they have 
long since sunk into oblivion, and would forever remain 
there if it were not for old charts and deeds. 

Another word about which there has been a difference 
of opinion, is Gouzar, a word whiph for many years has 
designated the basin of water at the head of the bay. It 
has always been supposed that the Indians used the word 
to describe the place because of the abundance of geese 
which gathered there in spring and fall. This explanation 
is erroneous. One of the first settlers there was a man by 
the name of Gousar or Geeser. Hence the name. In 1786 
it is referred to as Port Gouza. 

There are two other local names which need a few 
words of explanation. These are Brule and Barrachois. 
The former is the French word for burnt land and formerly 
was applied only to that long landscape that ever since 
has borne this name. Doubtless at one time it had been 
visited by a disastrous fire which left it shorn of vegetation. 
The latter word is found quite frequently in the Maritime 
Provinces and means either a lowland or a sand bar. It 
does not occur in the French of today, at least not in 
the modern French dictionary, and probably was first coined 
by the French Acadians to describe those tracts of low 
land often found in Nova Scotia. 



T^HERE is much evidence to show that at one time Tatama- 
gouche was a frequent rendezvous for the Micmac Indians. 
The name itself is almost conclusive in sho wing that it was 
a place well known to these men of the forest. The location 
and environment of the place were peculiarly suited to meet 
the few needs of the Red Man. The waters of the rivers and 
harbours teemed with a great number of fish, including 
the lobster and oyster, while in the' fall and spring these 
waters and the adjacent marshes were the haunts of the wild 
fowl which to a great extent made up the Indians' bill of fare. 

Traditions tell us that at one time there was an Indian 
burying-ground on Steele's Island. This is still generally 
believed and is not without good foundation.* A number 
of years ago a jaw bone of unusual size was found near the 
edge of the bank. The late David Fraser is supposed to have 
been the finder. It was kept for a number of years in his shop. 
It is true that at present no trace of mounds is to be found on 
the island, but recent cultivation would account for their dis- 
appearance indeed it would be extraordinary if, after the 
lapse of so many years, there still remained any indications 
of this ancient burial place. Other stories, too, are current, 
which tell of the finding of rude Indian implements and 
beads on the shores of this island. 

More certain evidence! of the Indians has, however, 
been found on Ross' Point in what is now the farm of 
C. N. Cunningham. When a cut was being made there at 
the time of the construction of the railway, a number 
of bones were exposed, many of which had every appearance 
of having been broken before they were interred in their 
final resting place. These bones were found close to 
the surface, which indicated that they had either been 

The late Frank Steele used to relate that on one occasion, after a heavy storm, he 
found a large number of bones on the beach. These he carefully buried near the bank's edge. 

tOak or Stewart's Island, across the Harbour on the Malagash shore, was another 
favourite resort for these people. When the first settlers arrived, they found immense quanti- 
ties of oyster shells near the beach. These they used for fertilizing their farms. Small quan- 
tities may yet be seen at or near the edge of the bank. According to Lone Cloud, _Malagash 
in the Micmac language meant a place where the Indians met to play games, and it may be 
that the word Malagash was first applied to this small island. It is to be noted, however, 
that the students of Micmac state that Malagash means "end of smooth water". It is more 
probable that the word was first applied to the Point. 


deposited in haste, or ait a date previous to the coming of 
the Europeans, when the Indians possessed no implements 
other than sharpened sticks with which they were unable 
to dig a hole of much depth. In the adjoining fields at various 
times, spear heads and other implements of war have been 
found. Possibly what is now a peaceful farm, was once the 
scene of a hard fought battle. 

A recorded reference which substantiates the former 
statement that Tatamagouche was a frequent rendezvous 
for the Indians, is found in a report by Judge Morris in 
1753 on the failure of the attempts of British settlement in 
Nova Scotia in 1749-50 and -53. It seems that the chief 
cause of the failure was the hostility of the Indians who 
were constantly making attacks upon the British settlors. 
This is how Judge Morris explains the situation: 

"The Indians being supplied with provisions at Bay Verte, proceed 
along the shore of the sea, till they come to Tatamagouche, which is navigable 
twenty miles for their canoes, where they leave them, and taking their pro- 
visions travel about ten miles, which brings them to Cobequid. This takes 
up two, sometimes three days. At Cobequid they are supplied by the French; 
thence from there they go down the Shubenacadia River to Dartmouth where 
they embarrass the inhabitants." 

The Judge then goes on and advocates as a remedy the 
removal of the French from Chignecto and the erection 
of a fort on the Shubenacadie. He says: 

"It is quite evident that if the inhabitants were removed from Cobequid 
that their (the Indians) means of support among them would cease. They 
would have none to take care of their canoes, and consequently must pass from 
Tatamagouche River by land through the woods, which are almost impass- 
able, above sixty miles, and carry their provisions both for their support 
out and home, which would put them to such difficulties they would be 
induced seldom, if ever, to attempt it." 

Thus it would seem that Tatamagouche was, to use the 
modern phraseology, a "strategic point" from which the 
Indians could carry out their acts of depredation. 

Frequently, when they had succeeded in capturing 
a prisoner of note, the Indians would retire to Tatamagouche. 
Iwany a poor captive has found his way to lead over the 
rough trail from Cobequid to Tatamagouche, and thence 
overland to Chignecto, or by water to Louisbourg or to St. 
John's Island. Much of our knowledge of the Tatamagouche 
of those early days is gleaned from diaries which were kept 
by several captives who were brought here by the Indians. 
One, by Capt. Wm. Pote, we shall deal with later. 


Another rather distinguished captive whom the Indians 
brought to Tatamagouche, was Anthony Casteel. On 17th 
May, 1753, Casteel with several Englishmen, was surprised 
and captured by the Indians at Jeddore. All his comrades 
were killed, but he escaped by calling himself a Frenchman. 
He was then carried by the Indians down the River Shuben- 
acadie to Cobequid, thence to Tatamagouche. The party 
left Cobequid on the 24th of May, and arrived the same 
night at Tatamagouche, where they lodged. On the folio wing 
day, Friday, "We crossed," he says, "a bay and marched to 
a place called Remsheag (Wallace) where we found an 
Indian encampment." From Wallace he was taken to 
Bay Verte. Subsequently he was released. 

There are indeed few, if any, stories of difficulties 
between the early settlers at Tatamagouche and the Indians, 
and they seem to have been on excellent terms, though 
many of our forefathers felt genuine fear when they heard 
of the cruelties that were then attributed to the 
Indians. In River John, more trouble was experienced, 
and there the first settlers, in self-protection, prepared 
to erect rough forts. It was there, too, that Frederick, 
the five year old son of George Patriq^uin was stolen, and 
though every search was made for him, no trace of the 
missing boy could be found. With good reason it was 
believed that the Indians alone could account for his dis- 

The Indians as late as twenty-five years ago used to 
visit Tatamagouche in great numbers. The "old burying- 
ground" was their favourite meeting place. Gradually 
their numbers became fewer and finally they ceased to 
visit as of old. Only occasionally do we now see a few 
of this rapidly disappearing race around the place where 
their fathers lived a happy, though obscure, life, or where, 
when the call came, they answered it and fell in battle. 

Our debt to them may be small. They left to our 
fathers no cultivated fields with which to repay their honest 
labours. Neither intellectually nor morally have they con- 
tributed to our civilisation, unless in their religious life 

*It is recounted ttiat >eais alter, iatriquin, as an old man, returned to River John. 
He had been treated with only kindness by the Indians and soon learned to adopt their wild 
life, and could never bring himself to live in a fixed abode. 


their simple, confiding trust in an Almighty Power, whose 
care they were, may strengthen ours. Still in the words 
of the poet we can say of them: 

"The memory of the red man, 
How can it pass away 
While their names of music linger 
On each mount and stream and bay?" 

Their legacy to the people of Tatamagouche is a name 
euphonious and full of that mystic, hidden meaning which 
can alike arouse our imaginations and stir our emotions. 



the waters of our harbour and rivers were first 
ploughed by the rude sailing craft of some bold European, 
or when civilized man, with almost insurmountable diffi- 
culties, made his way through the pathless forests to gaze 
for the first time upon this broad expanse of waters, is a 
matter of conjecture only. Even tradition is unwilling to 
come to our aid and by silence refuses to throw light upon 
these questions which still remain shrouded in mystery. 

John Cabot and Jacques Cartier, in their early voyages, 
missed our port. Indeed, neither of these entered the 
Northumberland Strait at all. In the days of the French 
explorers who followed these two men, it seems hardly 
conceivable that Tatamagouche was not visited. Records 
which cannot be disputed show that about the middle of 
the seventeenth century* a small French vessel, engaged 
in the work of exploration on the north coasts of Acadie, 
sailed up the Harbour, while those on board eagerly scanned 
the shores of a district which to them was nameless and 
unknown. The sturdy Denys, whose name is inseparably 
linked up with the early exploration of this Province, parti- 
cularly of Cape Breton, was in charge. He was not only 
a sea captain. He was also a scholar of no small merit. No 
day of exploration passed without his faithfully and accurately 
recording its events. The day he sailed up Tatamagouche 
Harbour he made no exception to his accustomed rule. 
Hence it is that today we have . a description of Tatama- 
gouche as it appeared to this bold and adventurous French- 
man of two hundred and fifty years ago. After leaving 
what is now Pictou Harbour, he says: 

"Passing eight or nine leagues along, the coast is high with rocks, [and] 
it is necessary to keep a little off shore. One finds here, nevertheless, an 
occasional cove, where the land is low; but there is not much shelter for boats 
.and the sea breaks strongly. Then there is another river met with, which 
has abundance of rocks at its entrance; and a little off shore towards the 
eea is another little island covered with woods which is called Isle L'Ormet. 
Before entering into this river one finds a large bay of two good leagues of 
depth and one of breadth. In several places the low land is all covered with 
beautiful trees. In the extremity of this bay one sees two points of landf 
which approach one another and form a strait and this is the entrance of the 

*1671-2 are tlie years in which the records were written. 
fRoss' and Weiitiierbie'a. 


river. It comes from three or four leaguss inland. It is flat at its entrance 
[and] boats cannot go far into it. The land there is rather fine. Some hills 
appear inland but of moderate height. An abundance of oysters and shell 
fish is also taken here." 

Wm. F. Ganong, Ph.D., who translated and edited, 
the record of Denys' voyage, thinks that "Isle L'Ormet" 
was what is now known as Amet Island. This is what he 
says in reference to it: 

"L'Ormet. This is the earliest use of the word. Its origin is not known 
though possibly it may have been suggested by some resemblance to 'armet', 
a helmet. The little island is rapidly being washed away by the sea and 
is now much smaller than when our author saw it." 

The rocks at the entrance of the harbour and to which Denys 
referred, are not in existence today unless, as is probable, 
he was referring either to the Amet or to the Waugh shoals. 

The first settlers of Tatamagouche were French Acadians, 
of whom, unfortunately, there is little known, history having 
preserved the name of one alone.* What few details we 
have of their attempt at a settlement, we owe for the most 
part to observations which were made by the first Protestant 
settlers who, on their arrival here in 1772, found many 
indications of a once flourishing community. 

Tatamagouche was selected as a settlement by the 
French as a point of communication between their Annapolis 
and Cobequid settlements and their colonies in what is now 
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and .Cape Breton. 
But there were other reasons. f At that time Tatamagouche 
was remote from any British settlement and possibly had 
been represented to them by the Indians as a suitable place 
for a settlement, and the French love of the smell of the 
tide and the marsh, of which there is plenty at Tatamagouche, 
may have influenced them to go there. They were no friends 
of rock and hill, but preferred the alluvial soil which is 
found along the shores of this river and harbour. As one 
writer has said: 

"Thither they came with their cattle and seed grain and dyking shovel; 
there they set up their household goods, their simple machinery for grinding 
corn, and their little house of prayer. "j 

*The following quotation is taken from Le Canada Francais, Vol. II: "Famille de Pierri 
Boudrot demeurant au village de ternest parvoesse de Bangor. Claude Boudrot, ne a 1'isle 
St. Jean eu mil sept heute six, Marie A. Magdaleine Oezelit, fille de Jean Oizilet soite de France 
en de -feane Morse de Tatamugouche de Cobequick de present aux iles Saint Pierre et Miquelon 
avec leur farnille." 

fin those days of continual warfare, copper was in constant demand and it is 
possible that the many indications of it which were then (and even now) to be found at Tatama- 
gouche were a further attraction to the French to settle there. 

{Article "Colchester Sun," July 31, 1893. 


The date of the first French settlement at Tatamagouche 
is unknown. There is a letter in the Archives de La Marine 
at Paris, written by PAbbe de Loutre* from Tatamagouche 
on the 1st day of October, 1738, which translated, reads thus- 

"My mission is that of Chigabenakadi, that is to say, the Acadian 
Indians, together with the French of TahamiSochef of Gobekitck and all 
the French scattered and distant from whatever priests there are in that 
country. The [care of] savages proved quite a burden to me, and yet I have 
also charge of the French. It may be too much for me if the Lord does not 
lend his aid. Still I place all my confidence in Him alone. I left Louisburg 
for my mission on the 22nd day of September. On the eighth day, after 
having passed through high winds and tempests, I fortunately reached dry 
ground and I take this advantage of writing you and to give you news of 
myself. 'TahamiSoche, this 1st day of October, 1738.' " 

Thus, from this letter, it appears that as early as 1738, 
the French had not only settled at Tatamagouche, but 
they had also established it as part of the Cobequid 
mission. In another letter, written nine years later, describ- 
ing the same mission, the following quotation is found: 

"M. Girard is the priest in charge. There is a portage ten leagues in 
length from Cobequitk which leads to Takamigoush. There is a road through 
the woods in good shape and finely built. Cattle, sheep and fowl pass over 
it when sent to Louisbourg. This parish is under Cobequitk. The number 
of communicants is one hundred and fifty. "J 

From maps made by C. S. Robert de Vaugondy in 1753 
and 1755, it would appear that at that time there were 
three French, settlements in the vicinity of the present 
village of Tatamagouche. One of these was known as Pate- 
magouche b which was presumably situated near the site of 
the old burying-ground; another was at Cape John and a 
third somewhere between Brule and River John. One of 
the last two was designated as "Village des Sauvages"/i. 
The road before mentioned in the letter of Le Loutre is 
also shown on the maps of 1753. 

When the first permanent settlers arrived in 1771-2, 
they found that considerable land had already been cleared 
from McCully's Hill to the Presbyterian Church. This 
had also been ploughed, and put under cultivation, as was 

* Loutre was a most active instigator of the Indians and Acadians against British 
rule. Goldwin Smith in "Canada and the Canadian question," p. 57, speaking of the expulsion 
of the Acadians says, "The blame rests on the vile and murderous intrigues of the priest Le- 

t 8, a consonant equivalent to "ou". 

fThis must refer to the whole district of Cobequid. 

fcProbably a misprint of "P" for "T". I 

AIndian Village(?) 


evidenced by the ridges still visible among the fast growing 
bush. On the hill back of the old schoolJioiise lot the French 
had erected a small chapel, and in the adjoining field they had 
buried their dead. Crosses which bore silent witness that 
the sleepers were of "The Faith" still were standing at the 
heads of the graves.* It was generally believed that the 
exact location of this burying-ground was directly adjoining 
the back of the old schoolhouse lot, and for that reason the 
late William Campbell, the subsequent owner, regarding 
it as sacred, refused to put the land there under cultivation. 
Hence it remains till this day grown up in shrubs and wild 
bushes. Mounds of earth which resemble graves can be 
plainly seen, but it may have been that these were made by 
other than human hands, and that the grave-yard was nearer 
the chapel, which was farther down on the slope of the hill. 

The French had also cleared, to some extent, the inter- 
vales of the French and Waugh's Rivers, particularly of the 
former, which ever since has borne their name. On the latter 
they had begun the mining and smelting f of the native 
copper ore which was found exposed on the banks of the 
river at various places, particularly at the Mine Hole, about 
a mile above Murdock's, where the river takes a sharp 
turn at the junction of its two branches. The subsequent 
settlers believed that the turn was an unnatural one caused 
by the river's overflowing into the old mine, and that the 
stream covered the original workings. Acting on this 
belief, an American company took over the property and 
diverted the stream into its natural course, but failed to 
discover any great bed of copper. The late William Wilson 
many years ago, when ploughing the adjacent fields, found + 
considerable half-smelted ore along with the rude implements 
with which the French had been carrying on their feeble 
attempts at mining and smelting. 

Ruins, or rather indications, of several mills were still 
to be seen. One of these was on a small brook which crosses 
the main highway a little west of Mrs. William Waugh's. 
Even today one can see the remains of their old dam, which ; 

*.ieaioir ol Dr. Alaei-iregor, p. 2tM. i Mere is also a tradition wmcn says iiiat, me .trench 
had a burial ground on the banks of Waugh's River intervale, close by the main road, near the 
late Solomon Waugh's. As late as fifty years ago, local parties have dug there looking for hid- 
den treasure. 

fOnly a few years ago, quantities of half-smelted ore were unearthed in a field near 
Fleming Waueh's. 

JSo I have been credibly informed. 


now grown over with grass, resembles a dyke. 
Another mill was on the Blockhouse Creek near the road 
bridge. The third was at Gouzar and the other two on 
the French River, one on Mill Brook and the other on the 
main stream.* The presence of so many mills would seem 
to indicate that the little colony was rapidly growing and 
that it had every prospect of a bright future when in the 
years to come, the enemies of His Majesty the King of 
France would be vanquished and they, in peace, would 
enjoy the land for which they had made many sacrifices. 
Vain dreams which never were to be realised! 

There are also stories which tell of the finding of French 
coins on Wa-ugh's River intervale, f Two muskets were 
found in the early days in the field north of the old Gass 
house. These had lain there so long that the barrels were 
rusted through, and when picked up the wooden stocks fell 
away from the barrels. This happened so long ago, that it 
is impossible to obtain an accurate description of the weapons, 
but the finders and others who saw them, expressed the 
belief that they were French muskets. Then there is the 
prevalent idea that the willows, growing on the intervales 
of Waugh's River, were planted by the French. Some say 
this idea is erroneous and contend that they were planted 
by the early Scotch settlers, even though it is true that 
the willow is a native of France, and was frequently planted 
by the early French in various places of Nova Scotia where 
they had made settlements. 

In Campbell's History of Nova Scotiaf there is one 
reference to a French settlement at Tatamagouche. Mr. 
Campbell, quoting from a report of Governor Hobson sent 
to the Home Government in 1752, says: "There are sixty-five 
families at Cobequid, Rimchigne, Tatamagouche and Cape 
Sable." This would allow on an average about fifteen 
families for this place, and this is further borne out by a 
report of Judge Morris in 1755, in which he estimates the 
number of French families at Tatamagouche to be twelve. 

Some references to the settlement and its inhabitants 
are to be found in the records of the military expedition 

"History of Pictou County, p. 129. 

tA deep pool in the river below Archie Waugh's, known to this day as the "field hole" 
received its name from the fact that when the first settlers arrived, they fouud that a small 
clearing had been made there and that a few apple trees were still alive and growing. 

JPage 111. 


of de Ramezay in 1747, which culminated in what is generally 
known as the "massacre of Grand Pre". At that time 
the French had a fort at Chignecto and from that point 
they fitted out a strong expedition to surprise and defeat 
the British Colonial forces which early in the winter of 1746-7, 
had arrived at Grand Pre with the intention of pushing 
forward and capturing Chignecto. Among the officers of 
the French forces which set out from Chignecto on the 21st 
of January, 1747, were de Villiers, who afterwards defeated 
Washington at Fort Necessity, the Chevalier de la Corne, 
and others who subsequently were to play important parts 
in the struggle which, twelve years later, resulted in victory 
for the British on the Plains of Abraham. Diaries of their 
expedition were kept by Beaujeur and La Corne. These officers 
relate that on the morning of January 27, 1747, they stopped 
at the village of Tatamagouche, where they were joined by 
a number of Acadians.* Here they mended their broken 
sledges. Resuming their journey, they at five o'clock in the 
afternoon arrived at a place called Bacouel, at the beginning 
of a p'ortage which led some twenty-five miles across country 
to Cobequid, now Truro. The location of this place, Bacouel, 
is not known, but apparently it was somewhere on the 
French River, and the expedition probably went by a trail 
following the course of the river, or possibly by the river itself, 
which at that time of the year would be mostly frozen over. 
At Bacouel they were met by Girard, priest of Cobequid, 
who seemed unwilling to assist the French, fearing trouble 
with the English authorities. They spent the morning. of 
the 28th mending their sledges, and in the afternoon were 
joined by another party of Acadians and Indians, whereupon 
they again set out and towards evening reached a village 
near Cobequid. From the rapid progress made by the 
expedition and the information received at various points 
concerning the numbers and equipment of the British, it 
seems clear that convenient lines of communication in the 
nature of a highway, extended from the French settlements 
of Chignecto to those in the Annapolis Valley; and the 
journals indicate that a number of Acadiansf were at that 

*These, the diary states, came from Cape Jeanne (Cape John), where the Acadians 
had made a settlement 

fin 1743, "Father Germain reported at Quebec that certain French Refugees in the 
vicinity of Tatamigouche, who had come from the Island of Cape Breton, designed to go to 
that island to make some devastation there." Murdock, Vol. 2, p. 120. 


time settled at Tatamagouche and in the country now 
making up the northern part of the County of Colchester. 

In the journal of Captain William Pote,* who was 
brought by the French as a captive to Tatamagouche, there 
is given not only an account of his journey from Annapolis, 
but as well an interesting narrative of an encounter in the 
Harbour between several British vessels and a number 
of Indians, assisted by the French. 

Pote had been in command of the schooner "Montague" 
which was engaged in carrying supplies to Annapolis, f and 
on May 17th, 1745 was captured at that place by the French 
and Indians. On the 9th of June, he arrived in their custody 
at Cobequid, from whence all proceeded overland to Tata- 
magouche, having Louisbourg as their prospective destination. 

According to Pote, the party set out from Cobequid at 
5 a. m. of Monday, the 10th and arrived here a little before 
sunset of the same day. The journey, he says, being "over 
high mountains and low valleys" was very tiring, and 
"Verey much fatigued both Indians and English, with Ye 
Extream heat and Ye sun, yt Beat upon us with So much 
Vehemency. Some of ye Indians yt carried Connews, was 
almost melted and obliged to Gave out before the Night." 

About the settlement itself, Pote has only the following 
remark : 

"At this place (Tatamagouche) there Livd an old Gentleman ,yt had 
been a prisoner in queen Annete War in boston, and Spoke Verey Good English, 
ye old Gentleman Saemed Very Kind to me, and Gave me a piece of Bread 
and told me he was Verey Sorrey for our Misfortune and wished it was in 
his power to Contribute any thing to our Consolation." 

On the following day, while they remained here, many 
of the Indians went into the woods, where they busied them- 
selves in making canoes and providing food for their voyage 
to Louisbourg. 

Describing their method of curing meat, Pote says: 
"there manner of curing meate that they Design to keep any considerable 
time is to Cut it in Large fletchers, and Lay it over ye fire, till it is so Smoake- 

*Pote belonged to Portland Maine. "He was skilful in both surveys and seamanship 
and his capture was a serious loss to the English cause in Canada." Whilst in captivity, he 
kept a diary of each day's events. In 1890, John Fletcher Hurst, an American, discovered 
the original manuscript in Switzerland. Returning to America he had it edited and published. 
It is a book of the greatest interest to all students of Nova Scotian history. 

t Annapolis was then being besieged by a mixed force of French and Indians under the 
command of Lieut. Marin. Failing to make any impression upon the fort, Marin, with Pote 
and nine other F.nglishmen as captives, retired to Minas. There he received word from Du- 
chambou, the new Governor of Cape Breton, that Louisbourg, which had been invested by the 
New F.tiglanders, was in a most precarious condition. Marin with as many men as he could 
collect, prepared at once to hurry to its assistance. 


dryed, and Rested, yt one Cannot perceive any manner of moisture in it 
more then in a chip, this ye Custom of both french and Indians, when they 
Design to Carrey their provisions any considerable Distance." 

On the next day, Wednesday, the French officers from 
Louisbourg heard further news which caused them the greatest 
concern.* The truth they carefully concealed from the 
Indians, who believed that nothing was amiss. 

On Thursday, the 13th, preparations for the voyage to 
Louisbourg were continued. 

"Ye Indians Imployed in making Connews and paddles, and ye French 
in Transporting of their Bagage and all yt was heavey Carrige on board of 
the Vessels, this Day there Came many horses Loaden with Provisions 
from Quebecet [Cobequid] Viz. meal, flower, meat and Biskett and Liquor, 
the french officers Seemed Exceeding Urgent to make all possible Dispatch." 

On the next day (Friday) the party took its departure. 
The Indians proceeded ahead in canoes which were 

"so large yt Sum of them would carrey Very Comfortably fourteen 
men, and their Bagage So yt all of them Could Com-paddle, or Row, without 
Discommoding Each other, In ye Leaste." 

The French and their officers embarked on two vessels which 
it seems had been sent to Tatamagouche to be at their dis- 
posal. Pote was taken into a canoe with the Indians. In 
his narrative he gives nohint as to the exact place of embark- 
ation; he merely says, "We took our Departure from 

After the Indians had proceeded two or three leagues 
(which in any case would take them well out into the Harbour) 
they learned that the vessels bearing the French had grounded. 
Therefore they concluded it was best "to Go on Shore and 
Stop for ye General."! (who was on one of the French vessels). 
They therefore landed "in a sandy cove, Behind a Point of 
Land yt sheltered it from Ye Sea." If they embarked on 
the river anywhere near the site of the present village, this 
landing was in all probability somewhere on the Mala- 
gash shore which is well sheltered, and has, for the most part, 
a sandy beach, but from the few details given, no definite 
conclusion regarding this and their subsequent movements 
can be safely arrived at. 

Next morning, as they sailed out and turned round the 
point, they saw but a short distance from them three sloops 

*The messenger urged Marin to make all possible haste to relieve Louisbourg. He report- 
ed that the Fn'ilish had made much progress. 

fLieut. Mai in. 


which at once began to bear directly down upon them. Great 
speculation then arose among the Indians as to the nationality 
of the approaching craft. Some fe red that they were 
English, while others believed them to be French vessels 
bearing supplies for Louisbourg. The Indians, who numbered 
two hundred or more, kept a course close to shore which 
"brought ye Sloops to Bear almost a Stern" of them and at 
a distance of six miles. The sloops gradually began to 
overhaul the Indians who, for the first time, discerned the 
French colours flying on the nearest craft. They were now 
firmly convinced that it was a French ship and consequently 
were in a state of great elation, but Pote says he was 
"firmly perswaeded to ye Contrary." 

In going round a large cove one of the sloops suddenly 
shot ahead and sailed directly in the course of the canoes. 
The Indians, whose suspicions were again aroused, decided 
to land on the beach, but before they could do so they were 
overhauled by the sloops. And as they drew near, 

"Down Comes ye French colors on the one Side and up ye English on 
ye other and knocked open their portes and almost in the Twinkling of an Eye," 

they fired three of their cannon. Among the savages a great 
confusion followed, and as Pote rather quaintly expresses it, 
"he was ye Best Man yt could Get on Shore first." Accord- 
ing to his narrative all safely escaped on shore and when 
they had drawn their canoes out of the water they sought 
safety behind what he terms a "seawall". He describes the 
encounter as follows: 

"Ye Bullets Continued flying amongst us, but by bad Fortune they all 
Escaped Safe on Shore, and Never a man hurt, we hailed our Connews up 
behind a Sea Wall. Ye Sloops Stood Near ye Shore and Came to anker, 
and fiered Verey Briskly upon us, But we being Behind ye Sea Wall it was 
to no purpose, for as Soon as they Saw ye Flash of A Cannon they Tumbled 
as quick as though they had been Shoot Down, ye Indians Lay Scatered 
along Shore Some Considerable Distance and to Shew there Great Courage, 
would Sometimes Crawl from behind ye Sea Wall, and hoop and Yell, and 
make ye most hellish Noise that is possible to proceed from humain Creatures 
at Length there Came a ball, that passed through one of their Bodys and 
Carried part of his powder horn, that hung by his Side with it. the Sloop 
yt Stood back for ye General, and those that was behind us, began to fire 
Verey briskly ye Indians began to [be] much Concerned for ye General, and 
Sent Messengers Back by Land to Inspect how affairs Stood, who Returned 
in a Very Short time, and gave Intelligence, that they would Soon Take ye 
privatear, if they had a few Cannon But Nevertheless if it Continued Callm, 
they would Soon take her with Small armes, for they was then In Chase of 
her with all four of their Vessells, and Intend to board her. ye two Sloops 
that was with us, hearing ye Continual fireing come to Sail, and made all 


possible Expectation to ye others assistance, as Soon as they Saw ye Sloops 
make towards ye General, ye French officers that was with us, and Likewise 
ye Indians Changed their Countenances and Exactly Imetated Belteshazer 
ye Great King of Babylon and Said one to another, that they was verey much 
Concerned at what they feared would be ye Event, for they was Sensible; 
there would be much Blood Shed, if they was not all Destroyed, as Soon as 
ye French General Saw ye other two Sloops, he Gave orders to make for ye 
Shore with all possible Expedition, the Sloops gave Chase and followed them, 
Verey Clost but by ye help of their Oars they made their Escape, and arrived 
Safe Into their Lurking place, a Small Crick where ye Sloops could not follow, 
ye Sloops followed Clost in to ye mouth of ye Crick, and Came to anker, 
So that they Could by no means Come out. When we Saw ye Course was 
Clear we Embarqued In our Connews. In order to Return to Togmiguish. 
In Expectation ye General and all yt was with him, was Either Taken or 
killed, when we Came in Sight of ye Harbour, we found ye Three Sail of 
Privetears, where Come to anker in ye Entrance, and we Could not by any 
means pass, without being Exposed to ye danger of their Cannon, and we was 
obliged to Go Round to another place and Transport our Connews by Land 
Into ye harbour, this Night we Incamped at ye Head of a Small Crick, and 
Could not arrive to Togmeguish, nor hear any News from ye General, this 
Night I sought for an opportunity to make my Escape, but ye Indians kept 
So Good a watch, I found it would be but Imprudent to make ye attempt." 

It is probable that the place of retreat for the 
French vessels was Gouzar an.l that the creek referred 
to was Dewar's River. The British ships to watch them 
would anchor near the bar which Pote correctly terms the 

The English captain, David Donahew, however, gives 
a rather different version of this affair. It reads thus: 

"On the 1.5th Instant [June, 1745] in Askmacouse Harbour, up the Bay 
[Tatamagouche Bay], my Luck was to meet with two sloops and two schooners 
and an unaccountable number of Indian Canoes. At six the same morning 
the Captains Becket [or Beckwith] and Fones [Daniel Fones] who were con- 
sorted with me, being to Leeward saw some smoke which they pursued, 
and soon lost sight of me. I pursued my Chase, and at Ten o'clock came 
up with, and fired at them, they strove to decoy me and catch me in shoal 
water, which 1 soon perceived and I accordingly stood away from the Shore, 
they being a Thousand in number and 1 but Forty odd. We spoke to Each 
other for two hours and a half; they knowing my name they desired me to 
make ready my Fast for them and I telling the cowards they were afraid to 
row up; the weather start calm; as they come to Hand I killed but the number 
I know not. I fired two hundred four Pounders double round and Partridge 
fifty-three Pounders, my swivel and small Arms continually playing on 
them. My stern by force of firing is down to the water edge. Round House 
all to pieces but, bold hearted; had it not been so calm I should have done as 
I would, but not one Breath of Wind, and they rowing all round me, both 
Head and Stern; but Capt. Becket and Capt. Fones appearing in Sight they 
retreated and run into shoal water. I followed them within pistol shot till 
I ran aground; but blessed be G.xl, have got safe off. This was the army 
that besieged Annapolis and was ordered to assist Louisbourg but their Design 
is prevented." 

Next morning the Indians joined the French where "they 


had hauled all four of their Vessells ashore in a Crick and 
incamped by them." 

On Monday, the 17th another English ship arrived and 
anchored in the harbour. 

On Tuesday, Pote writes as follows: 

"This Day ye French and Indians Imployed In falling Trees Round their 
Camps. In Expectation of ye English Comming to attack ym on Shore, there 
was also Spies from our Camps, continually passing and repassing, to Inspect 
weither there was any Danger of their Landing, to attack ym which the French 
and Indians told me they wished they would attempt & I Should Soon have 
more of my Countrymen In there Camps with me for Company." 

A conference of the Indians and French was held on 
Thursday. At this meeting Marin proposed a scheme 
whereby they could steal past the English ships and thus 
bring relief to the hard pressed Louisbourg, but the Indians 
had had enough of fighting and insisted on proceeding by 
land to Canada. The next day they began the journey 
and in due time reached Quebec. 

This incident which we have just noted can claim more 
than local significance. It deserves mention in any 
provincial history, for in no small measure it contributed 
to the fall of Louisbourg. Had the French ships succeeded 
in escaping from the harbour and bringing relief the result 
of the New Englanders' expedition to Louisbourg might have 
been entirely different. As the author of "Pote's Journal" 

"This exploit of Captain Donahew contributed very materially toward 
the capture of Louisbourg. For had Marin arrived during the siege, he 
would have harassed the New England troops not a little, and Duchambou* 
distinctly stated that Marin's failure to appear proved disastrous to him 
at a time when succour would have meant victory." 

Historians, as a rule, have been mistaken as to the 
place of the engagement. Murdock in his history of Nova 
Scotia states that the engagement took place off of Cape 
Sable. "Douglass calls the place 'Asmacouse' and Donahew 
'Askamacouse Harbour' "f But the publication of "Pote's 
Journal" removes all doubt as to the place and significance 
of the engagement, and we trust that future historians of 
Nova Scotia will not fail to give it the mention which it 

There is another interesting letter written from Tata- 
magouche during this period and which is still preserved 

*The Governor of Louisburg, during the siege. 
1From foot note page 40 "Pote's Journal" 


in the French archives. The author was apparently an agent 
of the French government who had gone to Tatamagouche 
for the purpose of inciting the French and Indians against 
the British authorities. Late in December he ventured 
to Tatamagouche without being molested. He found "that 
the villagers were engaged in celebrating the festival of 
Christmas. It had assumed an orgy of great dimensions. 
They had several great casks of rum [fire water, cognac] 
from the Carribean Islands and the people, freed from the 
labours of the harvest, had abandoned themselves to the 
enjoyment of the feast." He admonished them severely 
but to no avail. He found it impossible to expect any 
help from them in his projected enterprise, and was obliged 
to return home without having accomplished the object of 
his visit. Later on the Indians bitterly complained to 
him of the treatment of their squaws by the French. 

In 1754 the French settlers at Tatamagouche were joined 
by a number of Acadians from Cobequid, who, evidently 
fearing that they soon would be molested by the British, 
burned all their buildings and retired to Tatamagouche, 
Ramsheg (Wallace) and other places on the north shore. 

It was in 1755 that the British Government decided 
to expel the Acadians and in July 31st of that year, we find 
Governor Lawrence writing as follows to Col. Monckton: 

". . . but I am informed those* will fall upon ways and means in 
spite of all our vigilance to send off their cattle to the Island of St. John and 
Louisbourg (which is now in a starving condition; by way of Tatamagouche. 
I would, therefore, have you without loss of time, send thither a 1 pretty strong 
detachment to beat up that quarter and to prevent them. You cannot want 
A guide for conducting the party, as there is not a Frenchman at Chignecto 
but must perfectly know the road. . . I would have you give orders to 
the detachment you send to Tatamagouche to demolish all the houses which 
they find there, together with all the shallops, boats, canoes or vessel of any 
kind which may be lying ready for carrying off the inhabitants and their 
cattle, and by this means the pernicious intercourse and intelligence between 
St. John Island and Louisbourg and the inhabitants of the interior part of 
the country will be in a great measure prevented." 

There is no official record that this order was ever 
carried out, but the first settlers related that from observations- 
which they were able to make, they believed that the depar- 
ture of the previous inhabitants had been made in haste. 
When forced to leave Tatamagouche, the French joined many 
of their compatriots who had previously settled at Arichat, 

*The Acadians. 


Harbor au Bouche and other places in the eastern part of 
the province, where their descendants still live. 

After expelling the French from Tatamagouche, the 
British, in order to frustrate any future attempt on the 
part of the French to re-occupy it, erected a small fort 
on that point of land at the head of the bay which is 
still known as the "Blockhouse". It was Governor Shirley 
of Massachusetts who suggested that this fort should be 
erected. In a letter written by him to Governor Lawrence, 
and dated at Boston, March 13th, 1756, he says: 

"I would prooose for your consideration whether taking possession of 
the harbour of Tatamagouche and erecting a small fort there, to be garrisoned 
with one hundred and fifty men, may not be necessary." 

There is no record that this suggestion of Shirley's was 
ever acted upon, but even today, an examination of the 
ground at this point of land clearly shows that some kind 
of fortification was once there. Mounds of earth, and 
remains of excavations are still plainly seen. It would 
thus appear that this suggestion of Shirley's met with the 
approval of the Government, and that a fort was duly 

The strategic importance of a fort at Tatamagouche 
at that period can be easily understood. It guarded the 
terminus of the road leading from Cobequid over the moun- 
tain, a road which as early as 1747 had been opened by the 
French. Had there been any endeavour on their part 
to re-occupy this province, nothing would have been more 
probable than that an expedition equipped at Quebec or Louis- 
bourg, would disembark at Tatamagouche and then proceed 
over this road to Cobequid, just as de Ramezay's expedition 
had done a few years previously. It was to meet such 
an emergency that this fort was erected. It is to be re- 
membered, too, that at that time Prince Edward Island and 
Cape Breton were still in the possession of the French, and 
a fort at Tatamagouche would tend to prevent all communica- 
tion between those colonies and any Acadians who remained, 
or who might return to the mainland. With the capture 

* *There is no documentary evidence to show that a blockhouse was erected durin? this 
period by the British at Tatamagouche. But that a fort was at one time erected on 
that point known still by its name, there can be no doubt. It was surely not by the French. 
Pote does not mention it, nor is there any reference to it in "I.e Canada Francais". It was 
not built nor occupied during the days of the early Protestant settlers, otherwise we should 
have more knowledge of it. There can only be one conclusion. It must have been erected 
after the expulsion of the French and before the permanent settlement of this place had begun. 


of Prince Edward Island and Louisbourg, and final surrender 
of the French forces in Canada in 1760, all further need of 
a fort at Tatamagouche was at an end, and consequently 
it was allowed to fall into ruin. 

The attempt to settle this place by the French resulted 
in failure a failure not due to any want of industry or 
forbearance on the part of the Colonists, but entirely to 
the inability of the King of France to recapture and hold 
Nova Scotia as a French Province. Nothing was accomplish- 
ed except the clearing of a few scattered acres, the erection of 
several small water-mills, a little fur trading, and the cutting 
of timber and masts for the Navy of France. 

"They departed and others entered into the reward of their labours. 
The land was taken from them and given to another who,* while speaking 
the same language, worshipped at a different altar, and honoured another 

*Colonel DesBarres. 

fArticle in "Colchester Sun", July 31, 1893. 



TN 1598, the Edict of Nantes, which assured more religious 
freedom to the Calvinists of those days, was drawn 
up at Nancy in France. This measure was ahead of the 
spirit of its times, and was particularly disliked by all devout 
Catholics who considered it nothing short of an insult to 
the divine power of the Church. On every occasion during 
the following years prelates and priests strove to excel one 
another in the breaking of the spirit, if not the letter, of 
this law, while at the same time, they kept up a constant 
agitation to have its fair and wise provisions repealed. When 
Louis XIV, who was an ardent Catholic, became King of 
France, the Catholics redoubled their efforts and finally 
in 1685, that monarch signed its revocation. In the following 
years the French Protestants, as well as those of other coun- 
tries, suffered intolerably at the hands of Church and State. 
Previous to the Revocation, the Reformed Church had made 
progress in a disputed territory between France and the 
Duchy of Wurtemburg. This district was finally, with 
its Protestant population annexed to France, but in the 
annexation treaty, full freedom was allowed to the Protestants 
living within its borders. 

As it had been especially provided that the Revocation 
should not apply to this district, its inhabitants, in marked 
contrast to their more unfortunate neighbours, suffered no 
molestation in their worship. In time, however, on the 
slightest pretence, this provision of the Revocation was 
broken, and here, as elsewhere, the Reformists were forced 
to bear the full burdens of a religious persecution. Orders 
were given that all the children should be baptized in the 
Catholic Faith, and finally, to stunt the growth of the 
Reformation, all the Protestant churches were ordered to 
be destroyed. One of these churches was at the town of 
Montbeliard. This old town is one of the connecting links 
between this rather ancient history and the present village 
of Tatamagouche. We shall repeat the following incident 
which occurred there, as it is told in Patterson's "History 
of Pictou County:" 


"Orders were given that one of their* chapels should be taken from 
them and handed over to the Romanists. Fifty young men, among them 
George Tattrie and Peter Millard, assembled at it, armed only with stones, 
prepared to resist. A detachment of troops was sent against them, with a 
priest at their head. He warned the party gathered of the uselessness of 
their resistance. They, however, refused to yield, when a section of the troops 
were ordered to fire, which they did, killing two and wounding others, among 
them George Tattrie, who received a ball in the fleshy part of the leg. The 
order to fire was answered by a volley of stones, by which some of the soldiers 
were badly injured, and it is said, one killed. The Protestants were again 
summoned to surrender, but refused, until the priest called on the whole 
detachment to fire, when they submitted and saw the house where their 
fathers had worshiped given to their enemies."! 

The above story was told on two occasions to Dr. Patter- 
son by George Tattrie, a son of the George Tattrie mentioned 
therein and the father of George Tattrie (spar maker). The 
last time was in the year 1873 when Tattrie was over ninety 
years of age. 

After this incident, the persecuted, having decided to 
leave the land of their nativity, gladly welcomed and accepted 
the offers which the British Government was then making 
to those who wished to settle in the New World. Tattrie 
and Millard, who were old soldiers, both having fought at 
the battle of Fontenoy, in 1745, joined the expedition. In 
1752 they had made full preparation, and putting what 
few goods they possessed on rafts, drifted down the Rhine 
until they at length reached Rotterdam. Here they took 
ship for England but their troubles, though many, were 
not over. The Government had promised to provide them 
with passage and supplies, but failed to do so and the whole 
party was left without means of support at Portsmouth. 
Finally the Government was induced to act, and in the follow- 
ing spring four vessels were sent to remove them to America, 
two of which sailed for Halifax and the others to South 
Carolina. In the Halifax vessels were two hundred and 
twenty-four immigrants who were first landed at George's 
Island but shortly afterwards moved to Lunenburg. , 

One of their Pastors in the old land was one DesBarres. 
He had a son, Joseph Frederick Wallet, who inherited that 
spirit of independence which his father so fervently preached. 
He, however, preferred to show this spirit in a more militant 
manner, and so at an early age joined the armies which were 
then opposing the King of France. 

* Reformists. 

(History of Pictou County, page 127. 


In 1756, he sailed as a lieutenant for America, where he 
raised and, for a time, commanded a corps of artillery. 
He was present at the siege of Quebec, and it was in his 
arms, so the story goes, that Wolfe fell when he received 
his mortal wound.* The next year saw the final defeat of 
the French in America, and in 1763 the Treaty of Paris 
brought the conflict to a close. The many wars that the 
British Government had waged, while they left its treasury 
empty, added millions of acres to its already vast domains. 
A great deal of these lands was at once granted to those who 
had aided in their conquest. DesBarres presented his 
claim and, so highly successful was he, that at one time he 
owned a good part of Falmouth, the whole of Minudie, the 
best portions of Maocan and Nappan, and twenty thousand 
acres at Tatamagouche. The Tatamagouche grant bears date 
August 25, 1765. A copy of it will be found in Appendix A. 

After the war, DesBarres was engaged in making charts 
of the Nova Scotian coast and, while at Louisbourg, heard 
of the condition of his compatriots at Lunenburg. They 
were anything but satisfied. He at once offered to let them 
land from his estate at Tatamagouche. In this he 
was actuated by selfish as well as unselfish motives. The 
land as it then stood was practically of no value to the 
owner who was continually in need of money to defray his 
various expenses, f At the same time it cannot be doubted 
that DesBarres had a genuine interest in his old countrymen, 
and considered that he was aiding them as well as replenishing 
his own coffers. DesBarres' scheme, while a good one for 
himself, was clearly impracticable. Men were not willing 
to pay rent when equally good land all around them was 
theirs for the asking. However, these men at Lunenburg 
seemed in such a dissatisfied condition that a number gladly 
accepted his offer. Each family was to have one lot con- 
taining eighty acres or less; for six years no rent was to be 
paid; in the seventh year the tenants were to pay five shillings 
for a lot; on the eighth, ten shillings, and on the ninth, one 
pound, which would be the fixed rate thereafter. The land- 
lord also provided cattle, the tenants agreeing to give him 

*Ttiere has been considerable controversy on this point. 

(There was another reason a provision in the grant called for the settling of a number 
of Protestant colonists within ten years. 


half the increase. Later on we shall see how this last condition 
on one occasion brought rather disastrous results to the 
first tenants. 

In the year 1771 or 1772, about eleven settlers arrived 
at Tatamagouche from Lunenburg. They were George Tattrie, 
who settled on what is now the Donaldson farm; George 
Gratto; David Langille, who settled a little nearer the village 
on the Lombard place; his son James, who took a farm 
near him on the French River; George Matatall and Matthew 
Langille, who settled where the village now stands; and James 
Bigney, who had his house on the bank of the French River, 
close to where the late Miss Margaret Campbell resided. 
Either at this time or a little later came Peter and John 
Millard who took up lots between French River and the Block 
House. There were also three other settlers who did not 
remain: Ledurney, who settled on Waugh's River; John 
Lowe and John Buckler. Some time afterwards, there 
came from the same place or quite near it, John Frederick 
and John George Patriquin. Their stay was short, as they 
soon removed to River John. 

Twenty years had elapsed from the time of the departure 
from their old home until their arrival at their new one 
at Tatamagouche. Like ^Eneas of old, they had been "much 
tossed about on land and on sea." Many of them who 
had left in the full strength of manhood found that they 
no longer were young, while their greatest task yet remained 
before them. They must indeed have been discouraged when 
for the first time, they viewed their long sought after home. 
The primeval forest extended to the water's edge, save on 
a few places where the French had made clearings, which 
were of great assistance to them, the more so because of 
the non-arrival of the promised vessel load of farm imple- 
ments. Within thirty miles there was not a house or shelter 
of any kind, not a living creature except Indians and wild 
animals, and to the newcomers neither of these was a very 
welcome sight. 

Whatever their feelings may have been, they lost no 
time in getting to work, first to erect slight shelter for them- 
selves and then to put in as best they could their crop for 
the first year which, in the Absence of any implements, 
was a small one. The first year they suffered greatly. 


What few provisions were absolutely necessary they obtained 
from Truro, paying as much as twelve shillings a bushel 
for wheat. These they carried on their backs to Tatama- 
gouche, over thirty miles through the woods. It is said 
that they would have starved to death if it had not been 
for some greens which they found growing on the marshes. 
These they boiled and used continually as their principal 
food. This, along with fish and game, gave them a bare 
existence and kept starvation away. 

We may now give the history of the various families 
as it has been given to us. George Tattrie was the one already 
mentioned in connection with the fight around the old 
church. He had three sons, Louis, David and George. 
The first, born in 1785, obtained in 1812 a tract of land 
at Louisville, near River John, where he had settled eight 
years previously. David, the second son settled on the 
French River near where Robert Tattrie now lives. His 
children were George, John, Ephraim and Edward. George, 
the third son, who died sometime in the "seventies", married 
a Matatall, and had several children, all, or nearly all, of 
whom settled on the French River. Among them were 
George (spar maker), Annie, who married a Patriquin, James, 
Levi and David. 

David Langille was twice married before he left his 
native land. By his first marriage he had one son, John 
James, whom we have already seen settled with him on 
the French River. By his second marriage he had no children. 
While he was sailing down the Rhine he fell in love with and 
married the widow of a Spanish soldier.* She, by her 
former marriage, had one son who took the name of Langille 
and, after his arrival here, settled at Point Brule. By his 
third marriage, David Langille had five sons: Nicholas, who 
went away to the United States and w r as not heard of after- 
wards; John David, John George, John Frederick, and 
John Louis. The last four, about 1792, took up land at 
Louisville between Tatamagouche and River John. John 
George became an elder of the Presbyterian Church at 
River John in which office he was succeeded in turn by his 
son and grandson, who each bore the name Ephraim. John 
Louis had also one son, David, who was an elder of the 
same church in River John. 

*See "River John and Its People," by Rev. G. Lawson Gordon. 


John James Langille, only son of David by his first 
marriage, had five sons: George, David, James, Joseph and 
Frederick. George removed to River John but finally settled 
in New Annan. Frederick removed to the United States 
and the other three settled in River John. 

Matthew Langille had one son, George, who, in 1790, 
removed to River John. His father joined him there in 
the course of a few years, where he died in 1800 at the age 
of seventy-six. He was the first person to be buried in the 
old grave yard at that place. 

With George Matatall came also his mother, old Mrs. 
Matatall, who had formerly been a nurse to Colonel Des- 
Barres in his boyhood days. On one occasion, when he 
was Governor of Prince Edward Island, she paid him a visit. 
He took her to Government House and showed her every 
kindness. There were two George Matatalls, who were 
brothers. George the elder had been a soldier, and, after 
being long absent in the wars, was given up for lost and, on 
his return, he found another member of the family, born 
after his departure, who bore the same name. George, the 
younger, owned lot 30 West sidef the site of the present village. 
In 1790, one George Matatallf removed to River John. 

James Bigney came from near Lake Geneva, Switzer- 
land. He removed with his family to River John. His 
grandson, John George, was a Methodist minister. 

In 1785 the Patriquins, John and George, removed to 
River John but, in 1790, John returned to Tatamagouche, 
exchanging places with Matthew Langille's son George. 
George Patriquin had four sons: James, who removed to 
New Annan. David and George, who settled on the road 
from River J'ohn to Earltown, and Frederick, who, as we 
have already noticed, was presumably stolen by the Indians. 
He had also one daughter, Phoebe, who was afterwards 
married to Joseph Langille, River John. She was the' first 
white child to be born in that place. 

These first settlers were of Swiss origin but, having lived 
in a small country whose borders were constantly being 
changed according to the varying fortunes of the powerful 
nations which surrounded it, they had, to a certain 

*Near where James Kamsey now resides. 
fThe elder. 


extent, adopted the language and characteristics of these 
nations. They understood and could speak the French 
language, their Bibles and other books being in that language. 
One of their descendants, now a lady of some sixty years, 
says that she can remember her father speak French, but 
"only once in a while". They resembled the Swiss people 
in that they were industrious, sober and practical. They 
were good settlers and in a remarkably short time were 
making a comfortable living. As may be expected from 
people who gave up their old homes for the sake of their 
faith, they were devoutly religious. In the old land they 
were Lutherans but here most of them first allied themselves 
with the Presbyterian Church, as it was the first Protestant 
Church to send a minister to Tatamagouche. 

These people, as a rule, showed good judgment in the 
selection of their farms, taking advantage of the clearings 
that had been made by the French. They may have made 
a little money from lumbering, but it was not for a good 
many years after their arrival that lumbering or shipbuilding 
afforded any real means of making a living. By 1775 the 
little colony was apparently self-supporting, as in that year 
they were able to supply the Dumfriesshire settlers at George- 
town with potatoes. 

In subsequent years they were joined by more of 
their countrymen. George Joudry was one of the earliest 
to come out. In 1790 he removed to River John. In 1809 
came the three Mingoe brothers, David, John and George, 
along with their father who had been an old soldier*. They 
came to Tatamagouche from Philadelphia and finally settled 
on the "Back Road" to River John. They were the first 
settlers at that place. Their descendants now occupy the fine 
land where the original members of the family erected their 
first cabins among the stumps. These brothers were largely 
instrumental in the establishing of an Episcopal church 
at River John. 

The old burying-ground of these pioneers was along the 
shore a little below the junction of French and Waugh's 

"There on that beautiful wooded point silently sleep the 

*In Switzerland. 


heroes of the fight around old Montbeliard."* "Time and 
tide, working incessantly, have carried away over half of this 
historic spotf where forever the "rude forefathers of the hamlet 
sleep." , 

Once again the war clouds hang dark around old Mont- 
beliard where, one hundred and fifty years ago, these men 
bravely prepared to die. There, where they, unarmed, 
bade defiance to Church and State, some of their descendants 
today are bravely fighting to preserve that liberty handed 
down to them by these men of old. But they heed it not 
over their quiet, secluded graves the rugged spruces are 
keeping silent watch; trees which saw them when they first 
touched our shores, watched them as they struggled on, 
and finally, when life's work was done, saw their bodies 
"returned to the earth from whence they came". If today 
these primeval giants of the forest could speak, what a story 
they would tell! 

*Article in "Colchester Sun", July 31, 1893. 

(The graves had nearly all been marked stones, but on all but two the epitaphs have 
become obliterated. One is still legible and reads as follows: 


A most promising Youth of Pictou 
Who departed this life on the 9th of April, 1823 

Aired ?9 years. 

!t is said that Mr. McKay was drowned while endeavouring to cross the ice from Weather- 
bie's Point in the si>ring of the year when the ice was thin. He was carrying a heavy chain 
the wcitrht of which carried him at once to the bottom. He ivas doubtless about the lust 
one buried there, as some time after this A. W. DesBarres (son of Col. DesBarres' gave the 
present cemetery to the trustees of the Presbyterian Church, but it was to be open for 
the burial of all denominations. 




T\7"E now come to one of the most interesting events in the 
history of Tatamagouche the arrival, in or about the 
year 1777, of the first Scotch settler, Wellwood Waugh. 

Waugh was a native of Lockerby, Parish of Lockerton, 
in the County of Dumfries, which is situated in the south 
of Scotland, bordering on England and the Solway Firth. 
Lockerby was about fifteen miles inland; nearer the Firth 
by some ten or twelve miles was Annan. It was about 
this time that there commenced an emigration of many of 
the inhabitants of these places to the New World, some of 
whom, as we shall presently see, followed Waugh's lead, 
and came to Tatamagouche and its vicinity. 

Waugh has left several invaluable writings from which 
we have been able to obtain information concerning the 
Waugh family. This is what he says in one: 

"This narrative, relative to the name of Waugh, is traditionary. They 
were originally from the Highlands of Scotland. When they loft that place, 
the chieftan of their clan, enquiring for a certain person, was answered accord- 
ing to the native idiom of speech, 'He's awa,' from which the name Waugh 
has been considered to have originated. James Waugh, of the Brown Hill 
of Dunscore, being one of the lineage of the Waughs of the Kere, and his wife, 
Mary McKeg, lived both to a very great old age, died at the same time, 
and were interred in the same grave, leaving four sons and two daughters. 
The youngest son, Alexander, was married to Catherine Calvin* in the Parish 
of Lockerton in the year 1739; their eldest son, Wellwood, was born there 
on the loth day of February, 1741, married Nellie Henderson in the year 

Again he writes: 

"In the year 1772 he (Wellwood Waugh) with his family left Lockerby 
the place of their nativity, and embarked on board a vessel bound for Nova 
Scotia, where they anived and began to settle in Prince Edward Island, but, 
various emergencies arising, they were able to remove to Pictou, where they 
continued for a short space of time, and then proceeded to Tatamagouche." 

In the "History of Pictou County", f there is given a descrip- 
tion of Waugh's difficulties while at Georgetown, for it was 
there that he and his countrymen settled when in Prince 

*<Jatherine Calvin, after the death of her husband, Alex. Waugh, married a Campbell 
who died, leaving one son, William, who took a farm in Pictou which remains until this day 
the Campbell homestead. Mrs. Campbell came and lived with her son, Wellwood, at hU 
home in Tatamagouche. 

fPage 95. 


Edward Island. In addition to suffering all the hardships 
experienced by the early settlers, they were visited by a plague 
of field mice. What crops they expected were devoured, and 
they found themselves on the verge of starvation. For three 
years they struggled on, practically their only food being 
lobsters and shell fish.* To add further to their already 
almost insurmountable difficulties, they lost what little 
merchandise they possessed. Waugh had handed over 
his goods to a man by the name of Brine, who was running 
a small store, trading with fishermen from the United States. 
These fishermen, in anticipation of the American Revolution, 
seized and either carried away or destroyed Brine's property, 
leaving the little colony in the most wretched state imagin- 
able. The following winter was the worst in their experience; 
strong men though they were, they found themselves so 
weak that they could scarcely carry food to their children. 
For three months they lived on shell fish and boiled beech 
leaves. Some iron pots which they had brought out from 
Scotland they allowed to stand full of water through a cold 
winter night. The next morning, owing to the heavy frost, 
they were all broken. In 1776, discouraged with their 
outlook in Georgetown, they removed to Pictou. Waugh 
used to relate that the only food he had for himself and 
family during the journey was a bucket of clams. Haliburton 
says of them: 

"They made their escape to Pictou in the greatest poverty and must 
inevitably have perished had it not been for the kindness of the Highlanders 
who supported them until they could provide for themselves." 

This, in Waugh's case, was not long, for on the very next 
day after his arrival he went to work in the woods making 
staves and from that time on was able to make a comfortable 
living for himself and family. He took up a farm almost 
in the centre of the present town. 

Waugh's future was bright with promise but the Ameri- 
can Revolution was now at its height and Waugh, who was 
an old Scotch Covenanter, refused, for a time, to take the 
oath of allegiance to the British Crown. This fact seems 
to have caused suspicion that he was secretly in sympathy 
with the revolting Colonies. In 1777 a number of American 
sympathisers in Pictou had planned to capture a British 
vessel under the command of Captain Lowden. They were 

There is also a reference to their having obtained potatoes from Tatamagouohe. 


successful and Lowden himself was taken prisoner. Whether 
Waugh actually took part in this seizure is extremely doubt- 
ful, but so strong was the feeling against him, that so the 
story goes, he was forced to leave Pictou and settle in 
Tatamagouche. It was further said that all his property 
was seized. If this be so, fortune was truly unkind to him; 
his property being twice confiscated, first by the Amei leans 
at Georgetown, and then, on this occasion, by the Royalists. 
We may add, however, that whatever mistrust he had 
of the British Government soon disappeared when, after 
residing a few years under its power in the New World. 
he, too, appreciated what it meant to enjoy all the rights and 
privileges of a British subject and hence he soon became 
a loyal subject of George the Third. His loyalty is shown 
by an interesting document bearing date November 3rd. 
1795, in which one Patrick Martin deposes that though he 
had long been in the service of Waugh at Tatamagouche, he 
had never heard him "disclaim or say anything disrespectful 
against His Majesty King George the Third, or against 
his Crown or dignity and further saith that the said 
Waugh always behaved as an honest and good employer 
and master to him and others." 

Some time after his arrival at Tatamagouche, Waugh 
became a servant of the Government, acting as courier between 
Truro and Tatamagouche. When Prince Edward visited 
Charlottetown, Waugh escorted him on that part of the 
journey.* Some say that he went with him to that city. 
The Prince, in recognition of his services, presented him 
with a handsome silk scarf, which is now in the possession 
of Waugh's great-great-grand-daughter, Mrs. Abram Currie. 

With him in 1777 or 1778 came also his wife, Nelly or 
Helen Henderson; his mother, Mrs. Campbell; and his 
children, Thomaf, Alexander, William, Catherine, Wellwood 
and Mary. He at once settled on the intervales of that 
river which ever since has borne his name. His first log 
house was erected close by the present farm house of Fleming 
W^augh. At the time of his arrival the whole countryside 
was still an unbroken forest, save the few clearings made 
by the Acadian French and the Swiss. There was a 
trail to Truro, but no road of any kind to Pictou. 

*Fhe Prince's destination must have been elsewhere. Campbell, in his History oJ 
Princ Edward Island, states that the Prince never visited the Island. 


Waugh had a good eye for farm land and was far-sighted 
enough to get possession, at first by lease, of 1600 acres of 
land, a great portion of which was intervale. DesBarres was 
not long in turning over the management of his vast estate 
to his new tenant and, in 1785, he gave Waugh full power 
of attorney over his Tatamagouche lands. At this time 
Waugh, with his sons, was paying 15 annual rental. Dif- 
ficulties soon began to arise between DesBarres and his 
leading tenant, and finally the landlord questioned Waugh's 
title. Litigation resulted but Waugh, who had retained 
S. G. W. Archibald, was successful. Then the case was 
appealed to the higher courts but no final decision was ever 
given. In the mean time, Waugh held by possession.* 

During the meanwhile, DesBarres, who had been appointed 
Governor of Prince Edward Island, was living beyond his 
means and his creditors, to protect themselves, did not 
hesitate to seize the goods of his defenceless tenants. We 
have already noticed how, by the agreement, DesBarres 
was to get half the increase in the cattle; thus his share 
would be liable to seizure by his creditors. We shall now 
repeat one incident which appeared in print a number of years 

"Once, when an attachment was issued, Waugh went among the tenants, 
collected all the rents in notes and money and sent it to DesBarres' agent, 
then he drove all the cattle belonging to DesBarres' share back into the woods. 
These cattle were afterwards hurried through the forest to the DesBarres 
estate at Minudie. When the officers came with their writs, it was explained 
that the Governor had no cattle there, and that the tenants had paid their 
rents, and owed the estate nothing. The officers and bailiff listened with 
patience to them and as the story goes, drew their swords to keep off the people, 
while they gathered all the cattle and horses, which they drove through the 
woods to Truro, to be sold at ruinously low prices, while the tenants, like Lord 
Ullin, were 'left lamenting'." 

After this many of the tenants decided to leave and 
take up land which they themselves could own. This was 
the cause of many of the young men, as we have already 
noticed, taking up land at River John, since at that place the 
Philadelphia Company were giving free freehold grants. The 
old people stayed because they could not well remove. In 
addition to those who had already gone, we may mention 

*It may be noted that ajruin in 180S Desl'.arres uppculed to the Courts for justice, 
and this time w:ts nueressl'iil in obtaining an injunction restraining Waugh, along with most 
of the other inhahita'itt- <>t Taiamajiouche, from "any further falling or carrying away any tim- 
ber of other trees M;milin<r. ^rowiiiK or being in or upori the premises in question." 

("Colchester Sun ' .luly :ilst, 1*M. 


James Gratto and James Bigney. However, after a while, 
conditions improved as DesBarres began to give some 
freehold deeds. This removed the greatest obstacle to 

In 1795 Waugh's wife, Nellie Henderson, died at the 
age of sixty-one. This is what he says of her in his diary: 

"In the relation of wife, friend and parent, she was in a high degree 
exemplary, in her life esteemed and beloved, in her death much regretted. 
She left a numerous offspring, whose number at this period of time amounts 
to nearly sixty. He who was her partner in life is still alive and now at the 
advanced age of eighty."* 

Her sorrowing husband erected over her grave a large 
horizontal table with a lengthy inscription, which he com- 
posed. It reads something like this: 

"Thirty and six years are past and gone 
Love and unity did still abound 
She was the mother of my tribe 
The dusty parts shall near my dwelling bide. 
Before my door that I may see 
The place she lies I'll shortly be 
She was zealous for Christ's cause, 
Agreeable to Scotland's covenanted laws. 
Now Nellie is dressed like a bride 
In garments that are white and side 
That was dear bought by Christ for thoe 
While he was hanging on the tree. 
Thy soul in Heaven now sings praises high 
Although thy body mouldering in dust does lie. 
At the dreadful trumpet's sound 
Both heaven and earth will then resound. 
The next Voice that thou shalt hear 
It shall be sweet unto thy ear 
The Judge sa}^ 'Ye righteous come to me 
And have pleasure through eternity'." 


Perhaps it may be well at this stage to take further 
notice of Waugh's family. The eldest son, Thomas, 
had as his share of his father's estate what is now the Embree 
farm. He was born in 1763 and married Mary Brown, who 
was the daughter of a captain in the United States army. 
For a number of years he followed the sea. On one voyage 
he brought back with him a number of apple trees, which 
he planted. A few of these, now a hundred years old, can 
still be seen in the orchard of Fleming Waugh. Wellwood, 
Donald, Murray and George Waugh were his sons. 

* \\augh did not write the above till 1821. 


Waugh's second son was Alexander, commonly called 
"Big Sandy" who lived on the Murdock farm. He was 
the first Justice of the Peace in North Colchester. He 
married Hannah Wilson and had three children: William; 
Wellwood, who married a sister of John Currie's; and Eleanor. 
He died in 1804 at the early age of thirty-eight. The rustic 
moralist wrote upon his tomb this simple couplet: 

"Death is a debt to nature due 
Which I have paid, and so must you." 

The third son was William who was born in 1768 and 
died in 1857. He married Elizabeth Rood They had 
a large family of six sons: Samuel*, William, Wellwood, John, 
Solomon and Alex., and four daughters. His farm was the 
one now owned by Mrs. William Waugh, 

The fourth and youngest son was Wellwood, who was 
born in 1773, and inherited the old homestead at the Willow 
Church. He married Lucy Rood, and had four sons: Solomon, 
Wellwood, James and William, and four daughters. 

Waugh's two daughters were both married, Catherine 
to Alex. McNab of Wallace, and Mary to Samuel Wilson. 
Two other children died as infants, f 

Waugh's mother, Mrs. Campbell, died in 1809 at the 
advanced age of ninety years. As we have already noted, 
she had by her second husband one son, William, who settled 
in Pictou and married Martha Henderson. Three of their 
sons, Alexander, William and James, as we shall see later, 
settled in Tatamagouche. The two others, George and 
Thomas, remained in Pictou. The two daughters, Margaret 
and Hannah, were married to Andrew MillerJ and James 
Hepburn respectively. We can pay no more fitting tribute 
to this splendid old lady than to quote the following in- 
scription from her tombstone. 

''Catherine, mother of W. Waugh and William Campbell, who departed 
this lii'e in the year 1809 at the advanced age of ninety years. She was 
a descendant of old Scottish worthies, who, in defence of the testimonies of 
Jesus and of civil liberties of their country, loved not their lives unto the 
death, and who under Providence were the means of securing to their offspring 

*Died IS! 4. atzcd one hundred years; was a Justice of the Peace and for ;\ time a^ent 
of t.lie DesR:irres estate. 

fFor the genealogy of Waugh family, as well as for many other items of interest, the 
writer is indebted to George Waugh who is always interested in matters of local history and 
who is one of its best authorities at Tatamagouche. 

t Father of Col. John Miller. 


those civil and religious privileges which now constitute the best ornaments 
of Scotland. Duiing the whole period of her life she was a careful and success- 
ful traveller in the blessed path of her progenitors, and at last completed her 
protracted pilgrimage in the firm belief of the truth of the divine promises 
and in the animating hope of an entrance into that Rest which remains for 
the people of God. In memory of so much goodness and of a parent deservedly 
dear, this stone has been erected by her sons. 'The Righteous shall be held 
in everlasting remembrance.' " 

Some time after the death of his wife, Waugh returned 
to Scotland, and began to learn the watch-making trade.* 
He was now a man of fifty years, and in a letter to a 
friend, dated at Lockerby in January, 1802, he says: "I 
am coming on very well and am to tell you further, I am the 
oldest tradesman and the youngest apprentice." On the 
outside of this letter there is written by an unknown hand 
that Waugh, when he went to Scotland, left his mother with 
John Bell at the Willow Church farm. This cannot 
be correct, as 1806 is the date given for the arrival of John 
Bell at Tatamagouche. It may have been that Waugh 
remained in Scotland after 1806, but not for long, as we 
know from documents that he was back in 1809. 

In 1824 this sturdy pioneer paid the debt we all must 
pay and passed away at the advanced age of eighty-three. 
Waugh was an ideal settler, possessing the great faculty 
of being able, in a great measure, to adapt himself to any 
situation and to become master of any circumstances. The 
difficulties that he encountered in Georgetown and Pictou 
might well have discouraged many a strong man, but they 
seemed only to have aroused in him greater determination 
to carry out his purpose of having for himself and his pos- 
terity a home in which they could live and enjoy a greater 
degree of religious and political freedom. Yet there remained 
throughout his struggles a tull devotion to Scotland and 
the old home, and we find him on the first occasion returning 
there. Amid the strenuous activities of a pioneer life, he 
found time to continue corresponding with many of his old 
friends. Some of their letters are extant. 

An old Covenanter through and through, he was a true- 
blue Presbyterian, and very religious. Possibly in this 
age there may be a tendency to scoff at his religion which 
had so much of fear and reverence. All his letters show a 
deep gratitude to the Almighty who had safely brought him 

*A "grandfather's" clock, which he made, is still in possession ot his descendants. 


through so many perils, and a confiding trust that he too 
would be led "safe home at last". With his activities in 
the establishment and erection of a place of worship, we 
shall deal later on. Suffice it to say that he was ever the 
ministers' .friend; his heart and purse were always open to 
aid these men as they strove to administer to the spiritual 
needs of the far distant and scattered communities. 

In some respects his education was above that of 
an average person, even of today. With foresight he 
kept an accurate diary of some of the events of his life, 
family records, and the more important business transac- 
tions. There is really very little difficulty in reading his 
hand-writing, some of which is now over a century old. 
He was possessed of the usual amount of Scotch 
cunning, which he used with varying success, on one occasion 
outwitting DesBarres and securing for himself and his chil- 
dren that large and valuable tract of land which is still 
owned by his descendants. As soon as he arrived at Tata- 
magouche, he became the leading man in the community, 
the representative of the Government and agent of the 
landlord. In the struggle for "better terms" from DesBarres 
he was the leader. 

Blazing the trail for the men of Dumfries, Inverness, 
Rosshire and other places of Scotland, he was the forerunner 
of the sturdy Scotch pioneers, men who, because of their 
splendid character and habits, were pre-eminently suited 
to endure the hardships of a pioneer life and to lay a firm 
foundation on which succeeding generations were to build 
a mighty country. 

In the old churchyard, close by the scenes of his earthly 
labours and anxieties he sleeps today. It was in summer 
last we visited his grave. From the abounding intervales 
came the smell of fresh mown hay, while under the over- 
shadowing willows, the lilies were growing about his grave. 
Our feelings were transported back a hundred years, and in 
imagination we could see him when, in his old homespun 
clothes, he trod those fields, reclaiming them from wilderness, 
or when, in the cold of winter, with axe in hand, he felled 
the trees beneath his "sturdy stroke". As we surveyed 
the beautiful farms, many of which were owned by those' 
who bore his name, and many more by those who were 


proud to claim him as their progenitor, we felt that he had 
not lived and struggled in vain. 

In priority of arrival, William Hayman comes second 
among the early Scotch immigrants. He was a native of 
Inverness, but in 1779 joined an expedition which the 
British Government was sending to America in its endeav- 
our to subdue the revolting colonies. He served for four 
years in the Eoyal North Carolina Regiment, and at the 
conclusion of the war, received his honourable discharge 
from John Hamilton, the Lieutenant commanding that 
Regiment. He then came to Nova Scotia and, in some way, 
was attracted to Tatamagouche and settled on what is now 
the McKeen farm. His house, of course a log one, would 
be one of the first in the village. He died in 1829 and was the 
first to be buried in the cemetery at the Presbyterian Church, 
Tatamagouche. He had twelve children: David, who first settled 
on the Lockerbie farm and then moved to River Philip; Mrs. 
Murphy; Mrs. Smith; Mrs. Simon Cameron; Mrs. Donald 
Cameron, Mrs. Matatall; Donald, William and John, all of who 
lived on Waugh's River; Mrs. John Langille, New Annan; 
and Frederick, who at first lived where Abe Currie now 
resides. Mrs. Nelson, another daughter, was the mother 
of Ex- Warden David Nelson, and was born at the McKeen 
farm in 1799. Frederick was killed by a falling tree in 
1837. He and another young man were engaged in cutting 
timber on the George Baillie farm near The Falls, to which 
place he had recently moved, and a large hemlpck four feet 
in diameter fell on him, causing instant death. He was 
buried at Tatamagouche. His tombstone is the oldest 
one now standing in that cemetery. 

Hayman was a thrifty Scot and made a good settler. 
At his death he owned some fine farm land which is now 
the property of his descendants. Though it is many years 
since he passed away, his spirit continues to live after him. 
Among the many Canadian heroes who won immortal fame 
at the battle of St. Julien in April, 1915, were two of his 
great-grandsons, Thomas Hayman, a son of Frederick 
Hayman, Balmoral Mills, and Herbert Cameron 1 , of Den- 

*8ince the above has been written, Private liben Langille, another descendant, ha 
given up his life on the field ot battle. 


About the close of this century came John Richards. 
Of English descent, he was born in Newfoundland. As a 
young man he was pressed into military service and was 
maltreated at Halifax where, on one occasion, he received 
on the bare back an unusually large number of stripes the 
marks of which he carried to his grave. He was a man of 
remarkable physique and, though by no means quarrelsome 
he would not hesitate when challenged to defend his 
fame as a pugilist. He lived first on the French River but 
shortly after removed to the Head of the Bay, and settled 
on what is now the farm of his grandson, Joseph Roberts. 
While living there he had a quarrel with an Indian an 
incident well worth relating. Some Indians, along with 
a number of whites, including Richards himself, had been 
holding a frolic on Oak or Stewart's Island* just across 
from his farm. Rum was freely passed around and one In^ 
dian, who was noted among his fellows for his pugilistic 
powers, endeavoring to provoke a quarrel between himself 
and Richards, challenged the former to "twist necks". 
Richards refused to do so and to keep the peace, suggested 
that they both leave, and offered to take him across 
on a raft to what is now known as Clark's Point. 
While crossing, the Indian still persisted in quarreling, so 
when they reached the shore, Richards consented to 
meet him in combat. The struggle was indeed short; 
one blow from Richards was enough, and the fight ended 
disastrously for the Indian. The Indians never forgot the 
defeat administered to their champion, and on various 
occasions showed their dislike to Richards, and openly 
boasted that they would have revenge. Richards used to 
relate that on only one occasion was he ever really afraid 
of them. One dark night, when returning to his home from 
the Blockhouse, he was attacked by six Indians armed 
with muskets. In this case discretion again proved the 
better part of valour and Richards fled to find refuge in 

his own house. He was married to Henderson and 

had a family of seven daughters: Mrs. William Dumphy, 
Mrs. Henderson, Mrs. Thomas Roberts, Mrs. W. M. Rob- 
erts, Mrs. David Langille, Mrs. Alexander Langille, and Mrs. 

*This Island is known by various names. On charts it IB called "War Island". In 
bfybuilding days it took the name of "Shipyard Island". Because of the abundance of oak, 
which grew there, it is sometimes known as "Oak Island". 


Brammer. His two sons died as children. Richards died 
in or about the year 1870, aged ninety-five years. 

At the same time John Johnson came with Richards. 
They had originally belonged to the same regiment and 
were for some time employed in making "Citadel Hill", 
Halifax. They, however, soon grew weary of their restric- 
tions so taking a northerly course through the unbroken 
forest, they walked till they reached the Northumberland 
Strait at Tatamagouche. Johnson settled on a large grant 
of wilderness land where his grandson, the late John Johnson 
subsequently lived. Here he built a log house, married and 
settled down. He died in 1841. He had three sons, James, 
George and Wellwood. The first remained on the old home- 
stead. The late Dr. D. M. Johnson of the village was his 
son and another son also entered the medical profession. 
The second son, George settled on his part of the original 
grant. Of his eight boys, three became ministers of the 
Methodist Church and the youngest, Dr. J. R. Johnson, is 
a physician in Syracuse, N. Y. James Johnson of Bayhead 
is another son. The third son, Wellwood, also settled at 
Bayhead. He had no family. 

Besides these permanent settlers already mentioned, 
there were several who had come out previously but for some 
reason did not remain for any great length of time. Most 
of these were merely "squatters" and rather than pay rent 
into the coffers of DesBarres, they moved away. We 
have already mentioned Geezar, who lived at the Head of 
the Bay. After his departure his farm was occupied by 
one McGrath, but he, like his predecessors obtained no 
title. In 1786, the whole of this property, comprising 280 
acres was deeded to Robert Adam of Wallace. 

Doubtless there were others who, like these, remained 
only for a short time, but these are the only names that 
are on record, excepting Patrick Martin who, for a time, 
was a servant to Waugh. 




HPHE opening years of the nineteenth century brought 

with them a large increase in the number of immigrants 
to Nova Scotia, particularly from Scotland where, at that 
time, many of the landlords were turning their estates into 
sheep ranches and, in so doing, did not hesitate to eject 
their tenants who were then from necessity forced to emigrate 
tb the New World. Many came to settle at Pictou and 
other places in eastern Nova Scotia and of these Tatama- 
gouche received its share. 

In 1804, DesBarres leased the Blockhouse farm to 
one Patrick Carrol. This lease is interesting as it states, 
"Only reserving what was formerly reserved for His Majesty's 
use :.s a fort". Nothing further of this Carrol is known, 
and his stay at Tatamagouche must have been short, as 
this property was Soon occupied by others. Several of 
the old people can recall his name, but know nothing of him. 

One of the earliest arrivals of the nineteenth century 
was Robert Chambers who, in 1806, received from DesBarres 
a deed of that point of land which has ever since borne his 
name. It may be noted that Chambers was the first 
person at Tatamagouche to receive a freehold title from 
DesBarres, the others only having leases of their property. 
He was a Scotchman and an old soldier, which is all that is 
known of him before he came to this country. He had 
two sons: Samuel and James. The former was a farmer 
and lived for a while on the Blockhouse farm, but receiv- 
ing his father's farm as an inheritance, removed there. 
He had six sons: James, John, Robert, Samuel, Edward 
and Thomas. James, the other son of Robert, removed to 
New Brunswick, where he died unmarried. 

Another early settler of this period was William Lombard. 
He was a native of the North of Ireland, but as early as 1809* 
was settled at Tatamagouche. Two other brothers also 

*Since the above has been written, the writer ha-* been informed that Lombard came 
to Tatamagouche the same , iine as Richards, who, as far aa can be ascertained, had settled at 
Tatamagouche previous to 1800. If this information is correct, Lombard should be classed as 
a -citlcr of the eighteenth century, but. aa there is also uncertainty at* to the time of Richards' 
arrival, the writer has thought it better to add thi- explanatory note than to make any other 


came with him to this country, but on landing at Halifax 
they left him and nothing further was ever heard of them. 
William Lombard settled on the farm now owned by William 
Bonyman, near Cooper's. He died in 1854. In his family 
were three sons: George, John, and Danford. The first 
settled on the farm now owned by his son, George. John 
was a clerk for Hon. Alex. Campbell and lived near the main 
road, a little west from Mrs. Crowe's. For a time he was 
village postmaster Danford lived with his brother, George. 

The third Scotch settler was John Bell. He was a 
native of Annan, or Annandale, Dumfries. In 1806 he 
emigrated and came to Tatamagouche where he lived with 
Waugh at the Willow Church farm. Lonely as the life at 
Tatamagouche was, he preferred to retire still further 
into the wilderness and, in 1815, removed seven miles inland 
to form a settlement which, after his old home in Scotland, 
he called New Annan. His farm was the one (still owned by 
his descendants) on the brook just above Byers' store. There 
for six years he dwelt alone. The reason why Bell removed so 
far, six miles from his nearest neighbour, is evident. His new 
farm was off of the DesBarres grant, and he was thus freed 
from the burden of paying rent. He opened a road from 
Waugh's to his new home. Traces of it may still be seen 
as it joins the old Truro road near the top of the Willow 
Church Hill. His sons Irvine, William, Gavin, James 
and Robert all settled in the district known as West 
New Annan. 

In 1822, James Me George, Wm. Scott, Thomas Swan 
and Mr. Byers, all from the same district in Scotland, and 
James Munroe, took up farms adjacent to Bell's. The history 
of New Annan is most interesting and only lack of time 
and space have prevented the writer from including it in 
this present work, and forced him to make his remarks on 
it so brief. 

Earltown has not been included within the scope of 
this small history, but a few notes taken from the "History 
of Pictou County"*, concerning its early settlement may 
not be out of place. 

"It was firet surveyed in 1817, by Alexander Miller, who gave it its 
name, in compliment to the Earl of Dalhousie, then Governor of the Province. 
The first settlers were Donald Mclntosh and Angus Sutherland, who took 

*Page 277. 


up their residence in the unbroken forests in the year 1813. The next to join 
them was Alexander McKay (tailor). Others soon followed after, among 
whom mav be mentioned George Ross, Robert Murray, John Sutherland 
(father of Rev. Alex. Sutherland) who afterwards removed to Roger's Hill, 
Paul McDonald, John McKay, Peter Murray, John McKay (miller, father 
of Rev. Neil McKay) William Murray (father of Rev. Wm. and Robert 
Murray), R. Murray (tailor), William McKay, etc." 

Nearly all these settlers came from Sutherlandshire*, chiefly 
from the Parishes of Bogart, Lairg and Clyne. 

"There were families from Inverness, two or three from Ross and three 
or four from Caithness. All the original settlers spoke the Gaelic language." 

"Like all who take up their abode in the woods, the first settlers had many 
difficulties to encounter. They were for years without a grist mill. During 
that time, they got their grain ground partly by hand mill and partly at 
a grist mill at the West Branch, River John. As there were no roads to 
the West Branch, and they had no horses, they were compelled to carry their 
grain on their backs to and from the mill over a rough track. John McKay, 
known as the miller, put up the first grist mill, at a fall fifty feet high, resembling 
the Falls of Foyers in Scotland. The mill-stones that were used in it were 
taken from the West Branch, a distance of. fourteen miles, on a dray hauled 
by thirty-six sturdy Highlanders. McKay, we may here observe, wa.s pro- 
verbial for his kindness to the new settlers, and his hospitality was shared 
by many a stranger." 

Waugh and Bell were soon followed to the New World 
by many of their Dumfries countrymen, who came out in 
1809-20 and the subsequent years. It is probable that 
the Currie family of Annandale was the first to follow Bell, 
William Currie, the second son, being out as early as 1809. 
Shortly after his arrival he married the widow of Alex. Waugh. 
They continued to live on the old farm at Murdock's where, 
in addition to farming, they kept an inn. One of the first 
meetings of the Presbytery was at their home. After the 
/various ministers and elders had assembled, Mrs. Currie to 
her great consternation discovered that there was no tea 
in the house. Tea, in those days, was used only on special 
occasions, and none was for sale or to be had nearer than 
Pictou. Old Jimmie Johnson, who was then a young man, 
saved the situation for the dismayed housewife. He started 
in the afternoon and, walking along the shore, f reached 
Pictou, and, purchasing the tea, returned in time for it to 
be served for the morning meal. William Currie died in 
1869, aged eighty-four. His wife died four years previous, 
aged ninety-five. He had one son, Alexander, whose son, 

*Later on the Duke of Sutherland sent out a- number of Gaelic Testaments to Hon. 
Alex Campbell who distributed them among the Earltown settlers. 

tAt this time there was a rough track as far as River John but it may have been that 
on foot, better progress could be made by going along the shore. 


William, though of good Covenanter stock, became an 
Espiscopal minister. 

The fourth brother, Gavin*, did not come out to this 
country for some years after William. It was probably iv the 
early "twenties" that he settled at Tatamagouche. Previous 
to his leaving Scotland, he had served as a mate on a vessel 
sailing out of Liverpool. When he was coming out as a 
passenger, the ship encountered heavy storms off the coast 
of Newfoundland. It being the captain's maiden voyage 
across the Atlantic, he was greatly perplexed and asked Currie, 
who had made several voyages to America and was 
familiar with the navigation in this part of the Atlantic, 
to take charge of the ship. This he did and brought her 
safely into port at Pictou. All the passengers, were 
deeply grateful to him for his timely assistance. As 
they were leaving the ship, two ladies who had been 
passengers were discussing the perils of the past voyage, 
and one made the remark that she never hoped to go 
through such an experience again, to which the other replied, 
"I wouldn't mind, provided Gavin was on board." Currie 
at first settled at Balfron where the mills were afterwards 
built. Here he erected his first house, part of which still 
exists but as the waggon shed of Wm. McKay. Subse- 
quently he bought and moved down to what is now the 
McCullough farm. He died in 1869 at the age of sixty-nine. 
His wife, Hanna,h Wilson, died in 1902, at the advanced 
age of ninety-two. She lived the last years of her life with 
her son James, who passed away a few years ago. Their 
other children were Mrs. James Campbell, Mrs. John 
Douglas, Mrs. James Waugh, John and Thomas of the 

The stay of the eldest son, James, was brief. He was 
a gardener, and was absent for a number of years in the 
United States. Two of his sons still survive him in the 
old land. 

The third brother was John, who came out about the 
same time as Gavin, if anything a little earlier. He had 
received a good education in the old land and at once took 

*He had been ca'led after his Uncle, Gavin Irvjng. Irving, a few years before Currie's 
birth, had been seized by a press gang and taken on board a vessel which was anchored a short 
distance off in the stream. In the evening he escaped from his guards and, jumping ovenr 
board, swam for the shore. His esc.. ^0 was at once noticed and the guards fireJ several shots, 
one of which found its mark, killing him instantly. 


up his profession of teaching. He lived first on the farm 
now owned by his son, Wellwood. There, on that picturesque 
spot where the tall trees bend over the winding river, he 
built his first log cabin which remained until recent years. 
Afterwards, in order to be nearer the scene of his labour, 
he moved down to where Abe Currie now lives. It is indeed 
difficult to over estimate the value of this man to the com- 
munity. There were at that time, including the whole 
countryside, probably from two to three hundred people. 
The education of the young was sadly neglected. John 
Ourrie filled the ever increasing need. Year after year, in 
his little log schoolhouse, near McCully's Hill, he laboured 
on. Sternly, yet kindly, he led the young and rising genera- 
tion along "the flowery path of knowledge." The troubles 
of a school teacher even today are many. What must 
they have been in those days before the blessed era of free 
schools? John Currie surmounted every difficulty, and 
successfully developed in a growing community the intellectual 
side of life. His influence was not confined to the school- 
room; working zealously for the welfare of the community, 
he was ever a patriotic citizen. In the church too, he took 
an active and leading part, being for many years an elder 
and the clerk of the Session. He died in 1869 at the age 
of seventy-three. "No man liveth to himself," so says 
Scripture. John Currie, in his life and service, highly 
exemplified this simple truth. How many men and women 
through him were saved from illiteracy and spared the 
humiliation of confessing before the world that they could 
neither read nor write! 

His son Wellwood still resides on the old farm and is 
now one of the patriarchs of Waugh's River. Another 
son was John Currie, Professor of Hebrew at the Presby- 
terian College at Halifax. John Currie had also two other 
sons, Murray, and Tom, who lived where his (Tom's) son, 
Abram now lives. 

We have already noticed that James Currie was absent 
from home many years. When he did return, he found that 
his parents had given him up for dead, and that a brother 
born since his departure now bore his name. Thus it came 
to pass that there were two James Curries of the same family. 
James, the younger, was the last of the Currie family to 


come to America.* He died at the early age of thirty. 

In the Currie family there were also three daughters: 
Henrietta (Mrs. Wellwood Waugh), Margaret (Mrs. Samuel 
Waugh), and Mary (Mrs. John Shannon). 

In June, 1816, came William Cole, who was a native 
of Poole, England. Like many other of the young men of 
that day he had been pressed into service and for some 
years had served on board a man-of-war. Having lost 
the sight of an eye by being struck by a knotted rope, he 
received his discharge and came to Nova Scotia. He at 
first worked for MacNab at Malagash, but in a year or 
so settled on the farm now owned by Thomas Roberts. 
Cole was known throughout the whole countryside as the 
owner of a cow which on one occasion gave birth to six 
calves. These he had stuffed and travelled through the 
country, exhibiting them. On his return he found that 
his farm had been occupied by others, and he then obtained 
a lease of the Blockhouse property. He had three sons: 
William, Absalom, and James, and several daughters, one 
of whom, Mrs. Isaac Matatall, is still alive at the advanced 
age of ninety-fourf. Though an invalid for many years, her 
faculties are wonderfully preserved and it was from her 
that the writer obtained the above information. She also 
relates that, when difficulties arose over the Blockhouse 
lease, first her father and after his death, her mother, journeyed 
to Halifax to interview Augustus DesBarres, who had suc- 
ceeded to his father's estate. 

In the year following his arrival, Cole was joined by a 
number of families from Argyle, Yarmouth County, who 
took up farms along the fertile slope at the head of the bay. 
These families were all of Royalist stock, and had come 
from Rhode Island to Nova Scotia at the close of the Revolu- 
tion. Jacob Spinney settled on the farm now owned by 
the grandson, James Spinney; and Joseph, his brother, on 
the one next below Joseph Roberts. Jacob had a family 
of three sons: Morris, who lived on the old place; Aaron, 
who moved away to the States; and James; and five daughters. 

*He had r.tther an artistic turn and at a moment's notice could sketch a likeness of a 
passer-by. He would thus, on various occasions, furnish no small amount of amusement, 
particularly if nature had endowed his victim with any peculiar features. He also did en- 
graving. The inscription on Mrs. Wauijh's tombstone was done by him, and the fact that 
it is still perfectlv legible speaks for itself, that the work was well done. , 

fLast winter (1917) Mrs. Matatall donated to the Red Cross a large quilt which she made 
entirely herself. 


Joseph had two sons: Joseph, who lived in the village, where 
he died in the winter of 1912, and Stillman, who settled on 
his father's place; and four daughters, one of whom, Joan, 
is still living in Pugwash. 

Daniel Goodwin settled on what is now the farm of 
David Roberts. He had no family. 

Henry Roberts settled on part of the same farm. He 
had several children: William, Eunice, Samuel (who was 
killed in California), Lizzie (Mrs. David Langille), Deborah 
(Mrs. Holmes), Jane (Mrs. Kennedy), Patience (Mrs. Wm. 
Matatall), Capt. Jacob, and Thomas. 

One of the Spinney brothers was the first to visit Tata- 
magouche and he returned to tell the others of a place so 
peculiarly suited for fishing and shipbuilding. Roberts and 
his sons, in the subsequent years, built a few vessels along 
the beach below their farm. One of them, the ''Elizabeth", 
was burned on the stocks the day before she was to be 
launched. The loss, representing as it did the savings of 
years, was a disastrous one to the owners. 

Before the arrivals of these families, there were four 
other settlers in this district: Richards, Johnson, and Cole, 
whom we have already noted, and John(?) Henderson, who 
settled on the Upham farm. He met his death by being 
drowned in the creek which ran through his farm. He had 
one son, John, who continued to live upon his father's farm. 
A daughter was the wife of John Richards. John Hen- 
derson, Jr., was married to - - Johnson of River Philip, 
and had four sons: Thomas, Matthew, George, and William. 

In 1820, William Dumphy settled on the farm now 
owned by his grandson Harvey. He was a native of Clear- 
kenny County, Ireland. He was married to another daughter 
of John Richards. Among his children are William, Mrs.' 
Wm. Hall, Mrs. James Patriquin, all of the village.* 

It was in or about the year 1817, that Francis Wilson 
came from Halifax and settled on what is now the David 
Hayman farm. He was a native of Scotland, being born 
in or near Edinburgh. While at Halifax he ran a small inn 
and when he left for Tatamagouche was said to have had 

*.Subsequetit, settlers of this district were: Uavid Cunningham, who came from .Scot- 
land and settled where his grandson Joseph now lives; Wm. Dobson and Robt. N orris, both 
Hi Halifax. Lack of space has prevented the writer from giving the settlers of Bay-head the 
f':ll mention they deserve. As it is, he has already been forced to eliminate considerable 


"barrels of money". This was literally true for, having sold 
all his earthly possessions, he had the proceeds changed 
into large- copper coins which filled a barrel or more. After 
coming to Tatamagouche he conducted a small school. 
At one end of his school room was a large open fire place 
before which, in later years, he often fell fast asleep. 
On one occasion, while thus asleep, one of his shoes fell from 
his foot, but not unnoticed by a youthful pupil, who at 
once sei/ed the opportunity and quietly stealing to the 
hearth, took a live coal from the embers and put it in 
the heel of the shoe. A moment later a premeditated dis- 
turbance awoke the master, who immediately slipped his 
foot into the shoe, with a result which is most easily 
imagined. In his later years he moved down and ran a 
small shop, a little this side of George Waugh's. In his 
family were Hannah (Mrs. Gavin Currie), James, who 
removed to Pugwash; John and William, who settled on 
Waugh's River, and Alexander. 

It was sometime about the close of this period that a 
number of families settled on Sand Point. John and James 
Hingley came from Salmon River, Colchester County. 
They settled on the farm now owned by John T. Matatall. 
James Hingley was an elder in the Tatamagouche Presby- 
terian congregation. In his family were six sons: Hugh, 
Neil, Alex., John, Robert, and Samuel. There also were 
two daughters. All are now dead save the last, and one sister 
who lives in the States. John Hingley had only one son, 
who removed to the States. 

Samuel Weatherbie was another pioneer settler of this 
district. He settled on that point of land which is now 
Jtnown by his name. The Weatherbies were of Royalist 
stock, and came from the States to Truro or somewhere in 
that vicinity. Samuel Weatherbie had six sons: David, 
William, Duncan, Nathan, James, who remained on his 
father's farm, and Peter, who took up a lot near the Block-* 

Robert McBurnie was another Scotch settler of this 
period. He took up the farm now occupied by Robert Bell 
at Waldegrave. On coming to this country, he at first settled 
at Truro, but, having had his property destroyed by a flood, 
he came to Tatamagouche. In the old land he had received 


a good education and for a number of years after settling 
here he conducted a small school at what is now known as 
Waldegrave. Robert and Daniel McBurnie of the village are 

About 1820, William Buckler settled near what is now 
the farm of Robert Bell at Waldegrave. He was the son 
of a boot manufacturer in Devonshire, but at an early age 
went to sea. He came to Tatamagouche in an English vessel 
and here forsook the sea for the land. Two of his sons, 
Samuel and William, settled on their father's farm. Sub- 
sequently, William came to the village to live. 

At this time, or perhaps a little later, all the lots along 
the east side of the river from Lockerbie's to Wetherbie's 
were taken up. David Hayman, the son of old William 
Hayman, was on lot 61, the Lockerbie farm; lot 62 was 
vacant; lot 63, across from Campbell's Point was settled 
by George Millard; the one next below, 64, by Simon Matatall. 
On 65 was John Steele, who came here from Green Hill. He 
had three sons: Frank, Alexander, and James. The first 
lived on the old place, where he died a few years ago, the other 
two moved away. On the lot next below Steele was Mark 

The year 1815 was a hard one for the people of Tata- 
magouche, for it was in that year that this community, 
in company with the other rural districts of Pictou, 
Colchester and Antigonish, was overrun by hoards of field 
mice. We take the following description of this interesting 
but unwelcome visitation from the "History of Pictou Coun- 
ty" by Dr. Patterson: 

"This was a most destructive visitation, from which this portion of the 
country suffered from these seemingly insignificant animals. During the 
previous season they did not appear in any unusual numbers. But at the 
end ofrWintcr, they were so numerous as to trouble the sugar makers by fouling 
their troughs for gathering sap, and before planting was over, the woods and 
fields alike swarmed with them. They were of the large species of field 
mouse, still sometimes seen in the country, but which has never since been 
very numerous. 

"They were very destructive and actually fierce. If pursued, when 
hard pressed, they would stand at bay, rising upon their hind legs, setting 
their teeth and squealing fiercely. A farmer on whom I could rely told me, 
that having, after planting, spread out some barley to dry in the sun before 
the door, in a little while he saw it covered with them. He let the cat out 
among them, but they actually turned upon her and fought her. 



The late sown grain and the seed potatoes suffered from them;* but it 
was when the grain began to ripen, that their destructiveness besame especially 
manifest. They then attacked it in such numbers, that all means were unavail- 
ing to arrest their raA a?es. They have bet n known to cut down an acre 
in three days, so that whole fields were d st oyed in a si ort time. One would 
nip a stalk off a little above the ground and, if instead of falling over, the 
end sank to the ground, leaving it still upright, he would bite it off farther up 
until it either fell, or the ear came within his rt ach, when he would devour all the 
grain. Over acres and acres, they left not a stalk standing, nor a grain 
of wheat, to reward the labours of the farmer. They tmrrowed in the ground 
and consumed the potatoes. Cats, dogs, and martens gorged themselves to 
repletion upon them, but with little seeming diminution of their numbers. 
Trenches were dug and filled with water, but they formed but a slight barrier 
to their progress. 

"They passed away as rapidly as they came. In the Autumn, as the 
weather became colder, they became languid, scarcely able to crawl. One 
could trample them under his feet and finally they died in hundreds, so that 
they could be gathered in heaps, and their putrefying carcasses might be found 
in some places in such numbers as to taint the air. At Cape George they 
went to the water, and there died, forming a ridge like seaweed along the 
edge of the sea, and codfish were caught off the coast with carcasses in their 

The conditions as stated in the above quotation were doubt- 
less identical with conditions as existing during that year at 
Tatamagouche. Though "the year of the mice" is now 
beyond living memory, it still lives in tradition and 
frequently we hear some of the people tell of incidents that 
they have heard their parents relate. It is said that in this 
community it was the potato crop in particular which 
suffered. The farmers on the intervales found an effective 
method to exterminate the mice. They would drive them 
along the furrows till they came to the edge of the river and 
then with sticks drive them into the water. 

Severe and disastrous as were the results of the "year 
of the mice", the next year was to prove equally as dis- 
couraging. It was what is still known as the "year of the 

"The year 1816 was known throughout the northern parts of this Con- 
tinent, and also in Europe, as "the year without a Summer". In the noithern 
States, frobt, ice, and snow were con men in June. Snow fell to the depth of 
ten inches in Vermont, seven in Maine, and three in Central New York. 
On the 5th -luly, ice \\as forrrcd cf tie thickness cf window glass 
throughput New England, Jvew York and son e parts of Pennsylvania. In 
August ice was formed half an inch thick. Indian Corn was so frozen that 
the greater part was cut down for fodder. Indeed, almost every green thing 
was destroyed. A similar state of thinps e>isted in England. During the 
whole season the sun's rays seerm d to be destitute of heat. All nature seemed 

*"A man in Meripomish had made a clearing out at Piedmont in the woods. He carried 
out four bushels of oats to sow. On commencing, they came in swarms eating the grain as 
he sowed it. After continuing a while, he threw the whole to them in disgust, and returned 


to be clad in sable hue. The average wholesale price of flour during that year 
in Philadelphia, was $13 per barrel. The average price of wheat in England 
was 97s. per quarter. 

"Here the frost was hard in the woods in the month of June, provisions 
were high and from the destruction of crops the previous year by mice, many 
were suffering and nearly all the farmers were put to some inconvenience 
for want of food of their families."* 

No history of these years is complete without some 
reference to the old Nova Scotia Militia to which every 
Nova Scotian of military age by law belonged. From almost 
the beginning of British rule in Nova Scotia, military drill was 
compulsory, and we have no doubt but that the young men 
of Tatamagouche from the earliest years were thus obliged to 
perform what they considered an onerous duty. In addition 
to drill as a further measure of protection, army muskets 
were distributed among the settlers who would thus become 
acquainted with their use. In return a bond was given, 
guaranteeing their safe return to the crown. The settlers 
at Tatamagouche appeared to avail themselves of the oppor- 
tunity of thus obtaining a free use of the King's muskets and 
we have no doubt but that the woods frequently rang with 
the echo of these old flint-locks. We produce here a copy 
of one of the bonds, which is of local interest. 

"Know all men by these present that we Samuel McBurnie and Jas. 
Chambers are held and firmly bound to our Sovereign Lord, the King, in 
the penal sum of five pounds to be paid to our Sovereign Lord, the King, his 
Heirs, or successors, for which payment well and truly to be made we bind 
ourselves and either of us for himself or each of our heirs, executors and admin- 
istrators, firmly with these presents. 

"Sealed with our seals and dated at Tatamagouche this 14th day of 
July, in the year of our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and nine. 

"The condition of the above obligation is that the said Samuel McBurnie 
shall at all times hereafter safely keep in good and serviceable order and have 
ready to return when called for one King's musket, bayonet, scabbard and 
belt, one pouch and belt, and one gun sling which have been issued to him 
under an act entitled, 'An act to provide for the better security of this province 
by a better regulation of the militia and to repeal the militia law now in force' 
and shall in all things well and truly perform the provisions of the said act 
touching the same; then this obligation to be void, otherwise to be in and 
remain in full force and effect. 

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of 


*History of Pictou County, page 2'5. 


In this year, 1809, there were given a number of other 
bonds of a similar nature. On these we have noticed the 
following names: George Jollimore ST., Geo. Jollimore, Wm. 
Curri,e, George Halliard, David Matatall, Samuel Chambers, 
John Peter Matatall, John Pierce, James Chambers, Michael 
Otis (or Oares) and John Dunn. 

Some time about 1808 there was formed throughout 
what is now Colchester County, the 7th Battalion Nova 
Scotia Militia. The only officer from the northern part 
of the County was William Waugh, (son of old Wellwood 
Waugh,) who, in September of that year, was granted a 
Commission as Captain. In 1817, Wm. Waugh was made 
first Lieutenant and E. Matatall second Lieutenant. 

At the time of the war of 1812-14, a number of the 
young men of Tatamagouche walked to Halifax, where they 
drilled for some time. Among those who went was the late 
Samuel Waugh, Esq., who was then a young man of eighteen 
or nineteen. During the "seventies", the government granted 
a bounty to all those who had offered their services. 

Before concluding this chapter we may add a few 
remarks upon the general customs, habits and mode of 
living of the settlers of these early days. 

The hardships that they suffered and the privations 
that were endured, were the same as those suffered and 
endured in the settlement of practically every community 
of Nova Scotia. To understand the conditions as they 
existed in Tatamagouche a century ago, it is only necessary 
to read the "History of Pictou County," or any of the County 
Histories of Nova Scotia. 

The habitation was of course the log cabin. Up until 
this date (1825) it is most improbable that there was a single 
frame house in the community. Certainly there were not 
more than three or four. The log cabin was not, 
however, so despised a home as we in these days may 
imagine. It was small, of one story with an attic above 
and in some cases a "dug out" resembling a cellar beneath. 
The ceiling was low and as a rule the windows were small 
and placed almost as high as the eaves. The beds or bunks 
were generally placed in the corners in tiers of three or four. 
The first cabins as a rule consisted of one room only, but 
later on some had two or three rooms with attics and a "lean 


to". But they were warm. The spaces between the logs 
were carefully packed with moss which was obtained from 
the swamps and woods. The open fire place was in itself 
a splendid system of ventilation. In some respects the 
log cabins might be said to be superior to the first frame 
houses which succeeded them. 

The open fire place with all its inconveniences was 
the great charm of every log cabin and the first frame houses. 
The bottom of the fire place was built of large flat stones 
and the sides of boulders and field stones and in later years 
of bricks. The chimney was large and square. Swinging 
from the sides were the iron cranes from which hung tea 
kettle, porridge and other pots. The bake kettle was a 
round and shallow dish about six inches in depth and 
had a close fitting cover. When baking, the kettle was 
placed in the fire place and covered over with coals and 
ashes. Before these fires from night to night the people 
of the home would meet and converse with their neighbors. 
Few and simple were the joys that they experienced, but 
together before the blazing hearth to hear tales of the forest 
and stream, of the Indians, and especially, the tales of 
the Old Country and of cities and towns, which were yet 
to be disclosed to the growing youth this was the greatest 
joy of all. 

The people of those days made all their own clothes. 
Even as late as fifty years ago large quantities of flax were 
grown from which they made their linen. Every housewife 
could spin and card arts soon to be forgotten. The majority 
of men never wore clothes except those which were made 
for them by the women of the family. Sheep's wool was 
deftly turned into the homespun clothes. These, if they 
were lacking in style, were nevertheless most durable. Many 
a man, after a good, long married life, has been buried in the 
same suit which he wore on his wedding day. During the 
summer months, all went bare foot and children as old 
as eight years never had a pair of boots on their feet. 
Through the cold days of winter they remained indoors. 
The first foot gear was, in all probability, the rough 
cow or moose hide, but as small tanneries were built over 
the country, local shoemakers made their debut. Boots 
and shoes were made entirely by order. It was a great 


event when the shoemaker visited the house to take measure- 
ments and to fit members of the family with boots. 

Their farm implements were of the simplest kind. 
A triangular wooden harrow with wooden spikes was the 
first form of a harrow. Later on, with the coming of the 
ship blacksmiths, iron harrows were introduced. The plows 
were wooden with a steel coulter and shear. The hay was 
all cut by scythes and racked by hand. The first mowing 
machines did not make their appearance till some twenty- 
five years later. The grain was threshed on the barn floor 
by the old fashioned flail which has not yet entirely dis- 
appeared. The grain was cleaned and separated in a rather 
novel method. The farmers waited till there was a moderate 
but steady breeze. The grain and chaff were allowed to 
fall to the ground from a shovel held to the height of a man's 
shoulder. The wind would carry away all the chaff, small 
seeds and dirt, leaving the grain to be caught on a quilt 
or sail spread \m the ground.* 

The first settlers ground their grain by hand mills but 
Wellwood Waugh, who seems to have been the leader of the 
community in the ways of the progress, built about or before 
1790 a little grist mill. The water power he obtained by dam- 
ming a small brook which ran back of the Willow Church and 
turning the course of the water across the road he had another 
dam and the mill in what is now the orchard of Fleming 
Waugh. Even today the course of the mill race can be 
distinctly seen. 

The settlers depended for physical subsistence upon 
many sources. Venison of the forest and farm was the 
main item. The newly cleared farms yielded, for the 
first few years in particular before the fertility of the decayed 
vegetation was exhausted, excellent returns. Potatoes and 
all other vegetables were raised in abundance. Later on 
oat meal became the one great article of food. Many of 
the settlers being of Scotch descent took naturally to it. 
It was easily raised and prepared and was both substantial 
and cheap. Many a pioneer with a hundred weight of oat 
meal has confidently faced the future. Fish, too, in those 
days, were caught in greater numbers than today. The 

*Later on, fanning mills came into use. They were followed by the stationary tread 
mill and then by the old eight horse power. As horses were not at all numerous, it was not 
infrequent sight to see several oxen hitched to the arms of the old eight horse power. 


late Samuel Waugh, Esq., who was a young man about 
this time used to relate that salmon were so plentiful that 
they at times, almost covered the bottom of the larger holes 
in the rivers. Wildfowl, too, were not only more numerous, 
but more easily taken. Mr. Waugh had another story. One day 
in the spring, after the geese had arrived, the country was 
visited by an exceptionally heavy rain and sleet storm. 
Turning colder, the sleet stuck to the wings of the geese 
which then became unable to fly and large numbers, thus 
rendered helpless, the men killed with sticks and stones. 

Of social life, the community had but little. The "barn 
raising" and other similar frolics were about the only social 
events which broke the monotony of their simple life. All 
were proverbial for their hospitality nor was this hospitality 
without its reward. In those days of few newspapers and 
of little intercourse with the outside world we can well under- 
stand what it meant for a family to have as a guest some 
traveller from other places or an old friend of former days. 

The Scotch settlers brought with them the inseparable 
friends of the Scot the bagpipes and the violin. The Swiss 
portion of the population seems to have had a particular 
adaptability for music so that wherever there was a gathering, 
there was music also. Later on, music teachers came to 
the community and singing schools nourished. But the 
majority of the musicians of that day played entirely "by 
ear". Every frolic invariably ended with a dance, when 
to the tune of "Lord McDonald" and "Soldier's Joy" and 
others, the gay and flourishing youth sought "by holding 
out to tire each other down." 

In those early days, many misfortunes were attributed 
to the power of witches, indeed any evil occurrence vhich 
was beyond human explanation was "allowed" to be the 
act of some such mysterious personages. In the community 
from time to time there have been various old women who 
have been accused of possessing and exercising the powers 
of witchcraft. Though belief in witches has long since 
passed from our midst, there still remain many amusing 
witch stories. It may be of interest to repeat two. 

Once there lived only a few miles from the present village 
of Tatamagouche, an old lady, Mrs. Mac., who was com- 
monly believed to be a witch. One day in spring she visited 


her neighbor Mrs. M. for tjhe purpose of purchasing two 
spring pigs, but as they had all been sold, Mrs. M. was 
unable to promise her any. This highly displeased Mrs. Mac. 
and was also a source of worry to Mrs. M. lest she would be 
the victim of Mrs. Mac's witchcraft. That nighj, when 
Mrs. M. went to milk her cow, she found that the creature 
had suddenly fallen away in its milk and though several 
times during the next few days she endeavored to milk the 
cow she did not succeed in obtaining more than half a cupful. 
Mrs. M. at once knew that this was the result of Mrs. Mac's 
witchcraft, who, to show her displeasure, had wished this 
spell upon the cow. But, fortunately, a spell which can 
be wished can also be broken. For, just as nature itself 
produces remedies for the diseases which flourish in its 
midst, so too does every community produce remedies to 
combat the evil desires of all witches who live within its 
confines. Thus it is that no community is ever left power- 
less in the grasp of an evil mind. Mrs. M. was equal to 
the occasion. Next morning early she turned her cow out 
and watching where the animal took the first bite 
of grass, she removed the sod, took it into the house 
and boiled it in a pot with the little milk which the cow had 
given on the previous day. While it was boiling she con- 
tinued to stir it with pins, several of which she stuck in 
the sod. This proved an effective remedy and that evening 
the cow gave her accustomed flow of milk. Mrs. M. saved 
the pins and for a time she kept several in the cuff of her 
sleeve. With them about her person she felt no fear and 
hw one desire was to meet the witch face to face, 
but this wish was not gratified. Several days afterwards 
other neighbors visited Mrs. Mac. She stated that she 
had accidentally burned her feet, which were all blistered. 
But such an improbable story found little credence in the 
doubting minds of the honest neighbors. They had heard 
not only of her spell on the cow, but as well of the triumph 
of Mrs. M., which has been told and retold in every 
home in the community. They "allowed" that her story 
of having burned her feet was a mere fabrication, and 
that the blisters were caused by the evil wish which, when 
forced to leave the cow and find another resting place, finally 
settled in the feet of the witch herself. After this, Mrs. 


Mac's reputation as a witch suffered a great loss of prestige 
and soon the "wicked ceased from troubling" to pass the 
last of her days in peace with all her neighbors. 

Here is another story. About the same time there lived 
at Tatamagouche an old sea captain who sailed his little shallop 
between here and "the Island". One day he was sailing 
there under a steady and favorable breeze when suddenly 
in the Strait, far from land and in deep water, his vessel, 
without any reason whatever suddenly stopped. An ordi- 
nary mariner would have been at a loss to understand so 
strange a phenomenon but this old salt was not only a master 
of the waters of Harbour and Gulf, he was a master of witch- 
craft as well. He knew that this plight had been wished 
upon him by hite enemy, the witch. His fingers ran through 
his long, white, grizzly beard, and across his weather beaten 
features came a cunning, confident smile. He lashed the 
wheel and then disappeared in the cabin. In a moment he 
re-appeared, carrying in one hand an old musket which 
many times had broken the quietness of Gouzar and brought 
death to the wildfowl that ever frequent there; in the 
other a rough slab on which he sketched the likeness of his 
enemy the witch. Placing the slab by the mast he shot 
at it "five fingers" out of his old "muzzle-loader". Scarcely 
had the report died away when the vessel began to move 
and soon the spray was flying from beneath her clumsy 
bow and at the stern a happy sea captain wore upon his 
face a smile that would not wear off. That night the little 
shallop with its cargo of lumber lay at the wharf at Char- 
lottetown, and in the impregnable fortress of his little cabin, 
the captain, safe from all witchery, slept and snored. 

Morally and intellectually we believe that the settlers 
of Tatamagouche compare favourably to the settlers 
of the various other communities of Nova Scotia. We 
would not endeavour to canonize them. They had their 
faults and in all probability even more than has the present 
generation. Unity did not always rest in their midst and 
often might rather than right ruled among them. 
Apart from the use of liquor, they could not be said to be 
the subject of any vice. We should, however, remember 
that then the sale of liquor was legitimate and its 


use, unless to excess, was not disapproved of by the Church. 
Taking them all in all, they were first class settlers. The 
great majority were farmers or artisans before coming to 
this country. Although farming in the well cultivated 
field of Scotland was a very different matter compared with 
the farming in the New World and although many costly 
and amusing mistakes were made, still a farmer's a farmer 
where ever he is and those who followed agriculture previous 
to coming to America were bound to make the best settlers. 
The poorest class of the settlers who came to Nova Scotia were 
the old soldiers. After years of wandering over the face 
of the earth they naturally were loath to settle in a fixed 
abode. They were given free grants of land and many 
came to Nova Scotia in order to hold the land rather than 
for any desire either to make farmers of themselves or to 
secure a home of their own. But the old soldiers who settled 
at Tatamagouche were men who came here, not because of 
any free grant of land, for here they either had to purchase 
or rent the land from Colonel DesBarres, but, who came 
rather because of the desire to obtain in the New World a home 
which they could really call their own. They bought their 
lots and with inexpressible difficulties conquered the wilderness. 
By the side of the lonely harbour and river, far from the 
rattle of musketry and the blare of trumpets, they fought 
again another battle a battle not against the armed forces 
of the enemy, but rather against the awful power of Nature 
which has always opposed with a silent but almost irresistible 
effort every endeavour to claim new land to cultivation. 
Who with truth can say that their contest in the wilderness 
on the New World was one iota less heroic than their struggles 
in the battle fields of the older Continent? 







have already seen that up until this date the early set- 
tlers depended almost entirely for their living upon the 
produce of their farms. The lumbering industry had barely 
begun, it being confined for the most part to the sale of squared 
pine timber which found a good market in the Old Country. 
For instance, in 1802, when Waugh was in Scotland he had a 
vessel load sent across. Included in this cargo were some 
sticks 52 to 56 feet long and 18 inches square. This square 
timber in those days was sold by the ton, so that we find 
Waugh ordering "One hundred tons of square pine timber, 
twenty tons of hardwood consisting of black birch and maple, 
oak staves, three dozen hand spokes and twenty or thirty 
pieces of yellow pine." But the middle "twenties" saw a great 
change in the industrial life of the community, for it was then 
that the shipbuilding industry began, an industry which 
for the next fifty years was to be the main stay of the com- 

The first registered ship of any description to be built 
at Tatamagouche, was the "Fish Hawk", a small schooner 
of 16 tons. She was built by James Chambers and launched 
on the 1st of May, 1818. This was a small and modest 
beginning of the industry which for the next half-century 
was to mean much to the people of Tatamagouche. Closely 
following Chambers in the business came Alex. McNab 
of Malagash who, on November 12th of the same year 
launched the "Mary" a schooner of 32 tons. For the next 
four years no further ships were built here, but in 1823 the 
"Dapper," 22 tons; "Nancy," 73 tons; and "Lilly," 28 tons 
were built by Thomas Langille, Fred Hayman, and Murray 
and Samuel Waugh respectively. These men all built for 
personal use in the coasting trade. 

But the real founder of the shipbuilding industry at Tatama- 
gouche was the late Hon. Alexander Campbell, who was 
the eldest son of William Campbell, the half-brother of 
Wellwood Waugh. He was born at Pictou, and as a young 
man came to Tatamagouche, first as a clerk for Mortimer 
and Smith of Pictou, but in a few years he began 


business for himself. No place had at that time better 
natural advantages for the carrying on of this industry than 
Tatamagouche. The two rivers made it particularly easy 
to transport from the interior the timber necessary for the 
construction of the vessels, and on the shores of rivers 
and harbours were to be found many suitable sites for the yards. 
Then, at that time there was plenty of labour, for in the 
vicinity were many able-bodied men who failed to get the 
expected returns from farming and welcomed, indeed prayed 
for steady employment such as could be had in a shipyard. 

Campbell selected a site for his shipyard on the west 
bank of French River just above its junction with Waugh's 
River. There, in 1824, he built his first vessel,* the "Eliza- 
beth", a good sized schooner of 91 tons. Three years later, 
with his partners, he launched the first brig to be built at 
Tatamagouche. This was the "Devron" of 281 tons register 

The first vessels constructed in Nova Scotia for the 
English market were nearly all large ones, varying from 125 
to 700 tons. As a rule, these were sold outright, the builders 
seldom, if ever, retaining a share. Often the vessel 
remained long unsold in the English market. In the 
meanwhile, expenses accumulated so that frequently 
the returns did not equal the expenditures. Campbell, 
however, who had commenced on a small scale, was 
always able to keep his business running and make good 
profits besides. At one time, after a most successful year, 
a friend of his urged him to retire from the business before 
he met with the severe losses which seemed bound 
to overtake all who remained long in this uncertain industry. 
Campbell agreed with the wisdom of the suggestion but 
added, "What will happen to the men I now employ?" 
Campbell's words were only too true. The people, lured by 
the prospect of steady employment, had quickly abandoned 
the farms which through many sacrifices they had brought 
into a state of cultivation. These soon "ran out," and it would 
be years before they could be brought back to their former 
degree of fertility. A sudden collaspe of the shipbuilding 
industry would have brought poverty and suffering to almost 
every family in the community. Years after, its gradual 

*This may not be correct. At one time Campbell was building vessels below where 
James Bryden now lives and it may have been that his first vessels were built there. 


decline was accompanied with much hardship to those who 
for years had looked to it as a means of livelihood. 

Campbell's first house was a log one and was situated 
in what is now the field of Gordon Clark, close by the railway 
cut. After his marriage he removed to his new house 
where Gavin Clark now resides. He early attained a posi- 
tion of great wealth and influence in Tatamagcuche. Besides 
being the employer of many men, he had the local manage- 
ment of the DesBarres estate, from which, as early as 1837, 
he had purchased no less than 2,500 acres of the very best 
land. He died in 1854 at the comparatively eaily age of 
fifty-nine. A number of years before his death he had been 
appointed a member of the Legislative Council and it was 
on his return from attending its session at Halifax that he 
was stricken with an illness which at once proved fatal. 
Honest in his dealings, sound in his judgment, endowed with 
great natural ability, and possessing a commanding per- 
sonality, he was for years the foremost man in Tatamagouche. 
Born when the struggle for a bare living was still a keen 
one, education found but a small place in his boyhood days. 
At an early age he was obliged to work for himself. He thus 
obtained in "life's rough school" the training which fitted 
him to take a most successful and prominent part in the 
development of this country. Of his early days at Tata- 
magouche, we know but little. A log house was the first 
home of the man who subsequently was to count his dollars 
in thousands, his lands in square miles and who, during his 
business career of thirty years, shipped millions of feet of 
lumber and built over one hundred vessels. Within fifteen 
years after he came to Tatamagouche he was a wealthy man. 
He became the possessor of valuable tracts of timber from 
which he sold each year large quantities of lumber. From 
his shipyards, in which he employed about one hundred 
men, he launched annually three or four vessels. As the 
years went by his wealth and influence increased. During 
the "forties" he built each year five or six vessels. The 
number of men whom he employed had increased to two 
hundred. He was the local magnate of the community and 
throughout the whole countryside his word, to a great extent 
was law. The "fifties" saw his influence undiminished. 
Strong physically as he was, the anxieties and the worries 


of the treacherous business in which he was engaged were 
making themselves felt upon his robust constitution and at 
the close of the session of the Legislature in 1854 he returned 
home only to be stricken with a fatal illness. It is over sixty 
years since he passed away. Men of seventy-five remember 
him but slightly, yet his name is as familiar as if he had 
died only a score of years ago. This is because of the great 
position of influence which he held and because of a strong 
personality which so impressed itself upon those with whom 
he came in contact that his name still lives. His likeness 
shows him to have been a man possessing vigor, determina- 
tion, independence and kindliness.* Indeed, it was for these 
qualities that he was especially known. As a business man 
he was remarkably successful. Financial crises which could 
neither be foreseen nor prevented ruined many of the 
shipbuilders of Nova Scotia but through them all he steadily 
increased in wealth. On several occasions, particularly 
in the last year of his life he suffered losses which lessened 
his wealth materially but even then he died a wealthy man. 
In public matters the people looked to him for leadership. 
Hence his friendship and support were wooed by the politi- 
cians of his day. That at times he used his position of in- 
fluence in arbitrarily carrying out his wishes in public matters 
there seems but little doubt. But compared with the invalu- 
able services which he rendered his community and, indeed 
his province, his public indiscretions are as dust in the 
balance. It was his honour to be a member of the highest 
branch of a Legislature which was then performing duties 
fraught with the gravest responsibilities. To have been 
called to sit in this body during the strenuous times of seventy 
years ago and to have had a hand in the governing of this 
province during one of the most momentous periods of its 
history was an honour that could only come to a man of 
marked ability. 

Mrs. Campbell, before her marriage, was Mary Archi- 
bald, a daughter of Colonel David Archibald,- who was a 
grandson of David Archibald, one of the pioneer settlers of 
Truro and the first to represent that district in the House of 
Assembly. She died in 1894 at the advanced age of eighty- 
four. She was a most remarkable woman and for years was 

*"He was a true-hearted and good man; and many a youth blesses his memory for words of 
encouragement and deeds of substantial kindness." "Presbyterian Witness," Aug. 27,1859. 


the leader in all good works in the community. In the early 
days she suffered many hardships and discomforts. On one 
occasion she rode to Truro on horseback, carrying her eldest 
child (Mrs. Patterson), then a mere infant, with her. She 
was kind and hospitable and there are few of the old people 
but can say that they have on various occasions exper- 
ienced her kindness. In their family were four sons: 
David, George, Archibald, and William, and four daughters: 
Elizabeth (Mrs. Archibald Patterson), Margaret (Mrs 
Archibald), Hannah (Mrs. John S. McLean), and Olivia 
(Mrs. Howard Primrose). David and Archibald continued 
in their father's business until their deaths in 1887 and 1891 
respectively. Besides being leaders in the business activity 
of the place, they took leading parts in all matters of public 
interest. Archie was an elder in the Tatamagouche Presby- 
terian congregation. George was a member of the legal 
profession and until his death in 1897 practised in Truro. 
William died as a young man. Of this family, the eldest, 
Mrs. Patterson, alone survives, now (1917) in the ninety- 
'second year of her age. For years she lived at Halifax 
with Mrs. McLean, whose husband, in his life time, had been 
President of the Bank of Nova Scotia. 

Campbell was soon followed to Tatamagouche by 
others who, like himself, engaged in the shipbuilding industry. 
Among the first to join him were his two brothers, William 
and James. The former had his shipyard on the east bank 
of the French River, near McCully's. The ruins of his 
old wharf may still be seen. About 1840 he retired from 
the business and devoted himself to farming. He was 
afterwards appointed Customs Collector at this port, which 
position he held until a few years of his death. He was 
married to Olivia, daughter of Dr. Upham of Onslow and 
grand-daughter of Judge Upham of New Brunswick. They 
had a family of four daughters: Mary, who was a teacher 
in the public schools at Pictou; Jessie and Margaret, who 
lived on the old homestead; and Bessie (Mrs. W. A. 
Patterson). William Campbell died in 1878 and his wife 
in 1847. 

James Campbell lived where James Ramsey now resides 
and continued from 1831 until 1841 as one of the ship- 
builders of Tatamagouche. He died in 1855. His shipyard 


was near where Bonyman's factory now stands. One 
of his ships, the "Colchester", was at the time (1833) the 
largest ship to be built in the county, and attracted much 
attention, many coming from Truro and other places to 
see her launched. Campbell represented North Colchester 
in the House of Assembly for one Parliament, 1851-5. In 
this closely contested election he was opposed by the late 
Judge Munroe. His wife was Elizabeth Baxter. They had 
three daughters: Martha (Mrs. Laird), Eliza (Mrs. Poole,) 
and Lavinia (Mrs. Daniel Barclay), and two sons: William 
and James A. G. William died as a young man. James 
succeeded Robert Logan as Collector of Customs and held 
that position till his death in 1905. 

On October 27th, 1824, Colonel DesBarres died at 
Poplar Grove, Halifax. We have already noted his career 
till the close of the Seven Years' War in 1763. An engineer 
by profession, he engaged himself for the next ten years 
in preparing charts of the Nova Scotia coast, some of which 
are of the greatest repute. Afterwards he extended his 
labours and prepared a more extensive one of North America. 

DesBarres, so it is believed, did not consider himself 
amply rewarded for his many valuable services to his country. 
It is true that he secured grants of enormous tracts of 
land. But at that time this land as a revenue producer 
was a nullity. DesBarres accordingly pressed his claims 
and, in 1784, was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of 
the newly formed province of Cape Breton. He, in the 
meanwhile, had been living at Portsmouth, England and, on 
the 16th day of November of that year, landed at Halifax 
from whence he proceeded to Sydney where he remained 
till 1804. His stay at Sydney was characterised by violent 
quarrels with other government officials. But one thing, 
which should never be forgotten, remains to his 
credit. One winter the settlers of Cape Breton were in 
poverty-stricken conditions. DesBarres, failing to obtain 
proper relief from the government, spent large sums of his 
own money in alleviating the sufferings of the people, and 
at a time when his own financial standing was none too 
sound. In 1805, he was appointed Governor of Prince 
Edward Island, which office he held until 1813. While 
holding these positions of honour, which required a large 


Sailing from the Eastward between Cape John and Tsle Armotte, keep nearer the Cape 
on account of a Ledge extending from the Islealmist midway over; On the West side of 
the Isle you have a clear Pafsage. The best Anchorage for Ships is in Harbor John in 4 & 
o fathoms of Water muddy bottom. Small vefsels may run up to Tatmegoushe Harbour. 

RAMSHEG HARBOUR, The Flatts which extends from both Shores, at the entrance 
of this Harbour leave but a narrow Channel throught which at all times (excepting at 
Slack Water) the Tides stream with great Velocity & render the Navigation into it very 
unsafe, altho the depth of Water is sufficient for a Frigate up to the Anchoring Ground. To 
Sail in Steer over S Westerly towards Gravois Cliff giving a proper Birth to Shoal Point 
untill the N. West Arm is well open, then Steer for it keeping your lead going until! the 
Beach to the N. West of Gravois Cliff bears SW by W, then Steer W S W, & then West 
up through the Nariows to Anchor in o & f> Fathoms of Water mud bottom. The Colour 
of the Water is the best guide, as it appears black in the Channel, and from the Mast Head 
the Flatts shew very distinctly. 


outlay of money, with a comparatively small income, Des- 
Barres was continually in need of money and determined 
^iat his vast estates should furnish him the necessary amounts. 
So that, as his financial difficulties increased, so did the 
discontent of his Tatamagouche tenants, many of whom, 
as we have already seen, left and settled in River John. 

DesBarres, in order to prevent the loss of all his tenants, 
began granting freehold deeds, but only in a limited number, 
so that up till as late as 1820 the number of land owners 
at Tatamagouche did not exceed half a score. 

He frequently visited Tatamagouche. According to one 
writer, he found it a quiet retreat when hard pressed by his 
creditors. Though the following incident can hardly be 
said to have any connection with the history of Tatama- 
gouche, we think it well worth repeating: 

"He and General Haldimand were great friends. They carried on a 
lively correspondence mostly in French. There is a letter in the Haldimand 
papers at Ottawa which the Colonel wrote from Tatamagouche. The Colonel 
wanted a small loan which he could repay. He explains that some sort of 
an adventurer whom Haldimand had sent to him with letters of introduction 
had victimised him to the extent of a few hundred pounds, and impaired 
his credit. So seriously were DesBarres' affairs involved that he had come 
a little hastily in order to have peace. Tnere is a modern touch about 
this incidental remark."* 

DesBarree continued as Governor till 1813, when he removed 
to Halifax, where he spent the remaining eleven years of 
his life. 

A strong man physically, he endured many hardships 
and yet lived to be one month of one hundred and three 
years of age. It is related that he celebrated to the great 
amusement of his friends, his one hundredth birthday by 
dancing on a round table. 

"It would be difficult to say how far his troubles and services on the 
battlefield shortened his life. . . Given an easy life, he might perhaps 
have completed the second century, on whicii he entered with good health 
and extraordinary vigour. But as he could not forget his losses and mind 
his griefs no more, he was cut off at the above early age."t 

He was a good and brave soldier; strange that he who never 
feared any foe, often fled in terror before an angry creditor. 
He possessed a fiery temper. On one occasion, when judg- 
ment had been given against him in Court, he, on the 
spur of the moment, insulted the Chief Justice, Jonathan 

*Article in "Colchester Sun", July 31, 1893. 



Belcher. For this offence he was severely reprimanded by 
the Governor and Council, and forced to apologise. He 
did so in an evasive way which, however, seemed to satisfy 
the Court and Council. 

The following is an account of his funeral taken from 
the "Acadian Recorder" of November 6th, 1824: 


"On Monday last, about three o'clock, p. m., the funeral procession 
left his late residence. His Honour, the President, most of the members of 
His Majesty's Council, the gentlemen of the Bar, the officers of the Army 
and Navy, and many other respectable inhabitants attended as mourners 
by invitation. 

"The procession was escorted by a detachment of military and the rear 
was closed by a number of carriages. On arriving at St. George's Church, 
where his remains were deposited, the funeral service was impressively read 
by the Rev. D. J. T. Twining, at the conclusion of which three volleys were 
discharged by the troops. Although the day was very rainy, we have seldom 
seen a greater attendance or more interest excited on such an occasion. Indeed 
every reflecting person must have found great cause for meditation in the 
departure of this venerable man from our fleeting and unsubstantial scene. 
We saw him on the day before the internment, lying in state. His face was 
exposed to view, and it exhibited unequivocal marks of a mind originally 
cast in a strong and inflexible mould, while the hand of time appeared to 
have made but a slight impression on the features. The Chart, which he pre- 
pared from his own survey of this Province, will give his memory claims upon 
the gratitude of the nautical world, and could only have been produced by 
a man of surpiising perseverance. 

We believe he was a native of Switzerland, and are informed that he held 
a Captain's Commission under the great Wolfe 'at the reduction of Quebec. 
He was within a month of 103 years of age." 

On the death of DesBarres his son, the Honourable 
Augustus W., who was a judge of the Newfoundland Bench, 
took over the management of his father's estate at Tata- 
magouche. We quote the following from the History of 
Newfoundland by D. W. Prowse: 

"The Hon. Augustus DesBarres was a most correct man. . . He was 
so young when he received his first appointment as Attorney General of 
Cape Breton, that, by the advice of friends he wore a pair of false whiskers 
when he went to receive his commission. He was very celebrated for his 
ready wit and repartee. Once, when the late Judge Hayward was quoting 
Chitty to the Bench, his Lordship retorted, 'Chitty, Mr. Hayward, goodness 
me, what does Mr. Chitty know about this country? He was never in 
Newfoundland.' " 

Augustus DesBarres, either to satisfy his own need for 
money or to prevent the tenants from removing to other 
places, immediately began to give freehold deeds to the 
Tatamagouche tenants. Since in many cases they were 
unable to pay the agreed price, mortgages were given to Des- 


Barres. In the year 1828, forty-seven lots of one hundred 
acres each were mortgaged back to the DesBarres estate. 
But the mortgages, in the course of a few years, were released 
and the owners acquired an absolute title. DesBarres, while 
in Newfoundland, continued to sell the land in small lots 
to suit the buyers.* Alexander Campbell was his local 
agent at this place. Campbell was also a Justice of the 
Peace and his name in that capacity is to be found in nearly all 
the early land transactions at Tatamagouche. In 1858, 
DesBarres received his pension and retired from the Bench 
and returned to spend the rest of his days in England. No 
longer wishing to be burdened with the worries of the Tata- 
magouche estate, he, in 1859, gave full power of attorney 
over these lands to Charles Twining of Halifax, who appointed 
Samuel Waugh, Esquire, his local agent. By this time 
the vast estate had greatly dwindled, but rents continued 
to be collected and lands sold until every acre of the original 
grant had passed into other hands. Today, DesBarres' 
descendants do not lay claim to the title of a single acre 
of land at Tatamagouche. 

In 1826, John Nelson, at the age of twenty-one, settled 
at Tatamagouche. His father came from the north of 
Ireland to Musquodoboit, where he married an Archibald. 
John Nelson married Margaret Hayman, daughter of 
William Hayman and settled on Waugh's River. His 
son David, who for many years has been one of the leading 
merchants of the village, represented both Waugh's River 
and Tatamagouche in the Municipal Council, and for six 
years was Warden of the County. Three other Nelson 
brothers also came to Tatamagouche: Hugh, who lived 
where George Millar now resides; Robert, who removed to 
Wallace; and David, who settled on the New Truro Road. 
The last married Nellie Hayman, who, after his death 
married Donald Cameron. His son John continued till 
his death to live on his father's farm. 

In the same year, the Rev. Hugh Ross, who was the 
first Presbyterian minister to be settled at Tatamagouche, 
took up his residence on that point of land which to this 
day bears his name. -He was a native of Aberdeenshire, 
Scotland, and in 1813 came to Pictou County, where his 

*In 1836, the remainder of the DesBarrea property at Tatamagouche was publicly 
announced for sale. Notices to that effect were published in the newspapers. 


father had settled at Hopewell. His wife was Flora McKay. 
He died in 1858, aged sixty-two years. His wife died in 
1874, aged seventy-six. In their family were: Mary Ann 
(Mrs. Walker); Margaret (Mrs. McGregor); Caroline (Mrs. 
Irving); Isabella, who lived till her death a few years ago 
on the old homestead; Flora (Mrs. Joseph Spinney) of the 
village; Jessie McGregor, who for a number of years was a 
school teacher in New Annan; Elizabeth (Mrs. Thornton); 
James; John; Peter; and Alexander. Later on we shall 
deal with the work of Mr. Ross as minister at Tatamagouche. 

About the year 1828, John Bonyman, who was a son 
of William Bonyman of Rothmase, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 
settled on the farm on the French River, now owned by his 
grandson, William. John Bonyman was a magistrate and 
one of the first elders in the Tatamagouche Presbyterian 
congregation. He removed to Illinois. One of his sons, 
James, settled on the Mill Brook, and another, John, on the 
old homestead. A few years after coming to Tatamagouche, 
he was joined by his brother, Edward from Banffshire, who 
settled on the farm now owned by John Tattrie, on the 
New Annan Road. John Bonyman, who erected the wood- 
working factory in the village, and Alexander Bonyman, 
merchant, were two of his sons. About 1836, a third brother, 
James, settled on the farm now owned by his son, John. The 
only sister to come to this country was Susan, the wife 
of Robert Cooper. 

James Simpson was another early settler of this district. 
About 1828 he took up a farm on the hill across the river 
from Cooper's where he built his house on the very bank of 
the river. John Simpson is his grandson. 

The census of 1827 is the first one in which Tatama- 
gouche appears. In the ones previous to that time, the popula- 
tion of Tatamagouche was included in the return for the dis- 
trict of Colchester. Even in the year 1827, Tatamagouche is 
linked up with Earltown, so that it would be nearer correct 
to say that it is a return for North Colchester, rather than 
for Tatamagouche alone. The following are the returns 
given for that year: Population, 1104, number of acres of 
land under cultivation, 2607; number of bushels of wheat, 
1820; number of bushels of other grain, 3978; number of 
bushels of potatoes, 37,780; number of tons of hay, 860; 


number of horses, 86; number of horned cattle, 818; number 
of sheep, 1113; number of swine, 788. The year 1827 was 
very unfavourable to the growth of wheat and the return 
may be considered not more than one-third of an average 

Besides the settlers and their descendants already 
mentioned, there were at Tatamagouche, in 1828-9, John 
Smith, on Waugh's River, near where the late Fred Meagher, 
Esquire, lived; Charles Simpson; Kenneth McDonald, trader, 
who had his house in the field of Gordon Clark (where you can 
still see its site) ; Dan Hurley, who settled on the Williamson 
place; John Jollimore; George Stewart, on lot 80, east side; 
and Samuel S. Tupper, where the late George McConnell 
lived. These were all the settlers who, up till the year 1828, 
had any land in this vicinity, at least as far as the records 
at Truro show, but in all probability there were others who 
were living here but, as yet, had acquired no interest in 
any land, hence their names do not appear in the Registry 
of Deeds at Truro. 

About 1830, came another Scotchman, William McCully. 
He first lived up the French River on the Donaldson farm 
which was then owned by the Hon. Alexander Campbell. 
He then lived on Ross' Point for a while, but finally removed 
to New Annan. One son, William, came to Tatamagouche, 
where he lived on the hill which is still known by his name. 
Another son, James is still living on the old farm in New 
Annan. Another son, John, also lived in New Annan. 
Mary (Mrs. Kenneth McLeod) was a daughter. William, Jr., 
was a ship carpenter at Campbell's. 

During the "thirties" this immigration continued. In 
1832, came John Ross, a native of Rosshire, Scotland. In 
the old country he had served his time as a cartwright but, 
hoping to improve his condition, came to Nova Scotia and 
landed at Pictou, whence he came to Tatamagouche. 

In Scotland he had known the Lepper family, which 
previously had settled on the French River, and on arriving 
at Tatamagouche, he first visited them and then went to 
work in Campbell's shipyard. He eventually became foreman 
but, after building one ship for him, went to work for 
Edward Kent, who had commenced shipbuilding up the 
river near James Campbell's. After building two for Kent, 


he returned to farm life. He bought and settled down across 
the river on the lot now owned by his son, Alexander. He 
was soon joined by his brothers: Alexander in 1833 and George, 
William, Thomas, and Hugh in 1841. Alexander settled 
at Barrachois, where his sons William and Jefferson now 
reside, and the last three at Waldegrave on the farms now 
owned by Ross Wetherbie, William Kennedy, and Mac Ross 

It was in or about the year 1832, that the first hotel 
was opened at Tatamagouche. William McConnell was 
the proprietor and his first inn was the building now known 
to us all as the "Stirling Hotel", though since that date 
it has suffered many changes and received many additions. 
McConnell, who was a native of Galway, was a land surveyor, 
and before coming to Tatamagouche lived for ten years 
in New Annan. At his death he was a few years under 
a hundred. His wife was also a McConnell. One daughter 
was the wife of the late John Ross. When he left Tata- 
magouche, he was succeeded in this hospitable business 
first by Charles D. McCurdy*, then by a Copp from Pugwash, 
who was here somewhere about 1848. Copp in turn gave 
way to Mrs. Talbot. After she gave up the business, James 
Blair, the father of Isaac Blair, took over the charge until 
about the year 1860. During the next five years this business 
passed through the hands of James Morrison, the Misses 
Murdoch of New Annan, and Miss Rood, who, in 1865, 
sold out to Archibald McKenzie from whom Timothy Mc- 
Lellan, the father of the present proprietor, purchased it 
in 1873. 

In the early "thirties", John Hewitt came from Guys- 
borough to act as foreman in the shipyards of Alex. Camp- 
bell who was then building some of his vessels on the river 
below James Bryden's. Hewitt built the Williamson 
house which, until it was torn down a few years ago, was 
the oldest house in the village. Subsequently he removed 
from Tatamagouche. 

In 1834, Robert Cooper, who was a native of Aberdeen- 
shire, obtained from DesBarres a grant of land on the French 
River where his daughter, Mary, now resides. He had 
two sons: James and William, who both moved away. His 
brother George settled with him on this farm. 

*First lived on what is now the farm of Clias. McKeen. 


John Lockerbie, who was a native of Castle Douglas, 
Kirkcudbright, Scotland, came to Tatamagouche in 1835 
and settled on the farm now owned by his son, David. On 
this property, previous to Lockerbie's arrival, were two log 
houses. One, between the present house and the river, was 
built by David Hayman, and the other, on the bank of the river 
opposite the Pride place, by Thomas Henderson. Lockerbie 
was married in Scotland to Catherine Williamson. Two 
children, John and Jane (Mrs. Robert Purves), were born 
there, and Margaret (Mrs. Reid), Mary (Mrs. James Bryden), 
Martha Bell, Cassie (Mrs. Anderson), David, and Ninian 
at Tatamagouche. 

A few years afterwards came Lockerbie's brother- 
law, David Williamson, who was a descendant of Alex. 
Williamson*, a leading Covenanter of Sanquharf, one 
of the most historic spots in Scotland and the scene 
of many a conflict between the Covenanters and their op- 
pressors. Williamson, his wife, and two children came out 
in a ship named "Burnhope Side", which was laden with 
bricks for the Citadel at Halifax. The voyage took over 
two months. The first person to board the ship at Halifax 
was Joseph Howe, who soundly rated all those who were 
concerned with the overloading of the ship. David William- 
son took up his abode in what was afterwards known as 
the Williamson homestead. The sturdy independence and 
unfailing hospitality which characterized the Covenanters 
descended in full share to Williamson, and for his kindness 
and piety he was known throughout the whole countryside. 
He was an elder in the Tatamagouche Presbyterian con- 
gregation. On one occasion during family worship, his 
barn took fire. He left his reading and saw it burn to the 
ground without being able to save it, then, returning to the 
house, he took the books and finished prayers. His wife 
was Mary Carruthers. She predeceased her husband twenty- 
two years, he living to the good old age of eighty-six. Their 
son, Alex. Williamson died in Buenos Ayres and a daughter, 
Mrs. J. W. Kent, still survives. 

In 1835, the Bryden brothers, William and Robert, 

*This Williamson, so the writer been credibly informed, was also the progenitor of Presi- 
dent Wilson of the United States. 

tSanquhar, in Gaelic, means "old fort". This place has a most interesting history. 
We would refer our readers to "Traditions of the Covenanters" by Rev. Robert Simpson. 
Many of the common family names at Tatamagouche will be found in its pages. 


came from Old Barns and settled at Tatamagouche. They 
were both born at Maitland, and were descendants of Robert 
Bryden, who was one of the Dumfries settlers of Pictou,* 
and who subsequently settled on the Middle River, Pictou 
County. William was a blacksmith and had his place 
of business where Gordon Fraser now pursues the same trade. 
Before purchasing what is now the Reilly property, he lived 
in the old house of Alexander Campbell. His wife was 
Susan Kent who, after his death, married Charles Reilly. 
In their family were: James, of the village; Mary Jane 
(Mrs. Irvine), who is living in the States; and Elizabeth 
(Mrs. McCurdy). He died in 1842, aged thirty-four 
years. Robert, his brother, was also a blacksmith, 
his shop being directly across from his house in the 
building now used by Thomas Bonyman for the same 
purpose. He died in 1902. His wife was Christina Reilly, 
who died in 1913 at the advanced age of ninety-four. In 
their family were Charles, Elizabeth, James, Kate, Mary 
(Mrs. Hatheway), and Robert. Of these the first, Charles, 
is a Presbyterian minister and at present is connected with 
the Mi.ssion Field in the Canadian West. 

About the same time came Neil Ramsey, from Prince 
Edward Island. He was a blacksmith by trade and had 
his house and forge in what is now the garden of the Misses 
Blackwood, close to the church lot and near the Back 
Street. He did a great deal of the iron work for the ships 
and subsequently went, in a small measure, into shipbuilding. 
He afterwards removed to the Island. James Ramsey, the 
present Collector of Customs, Tatamagouche, is a son. 

It was in or about the year 1837, that John Millar, 
of Pictou, came as a boy of thirteen years to work as a clerk 
for Alexander Campbell. He was a son of Andrew Millar 
of Pictou, who was a native of Edinburgh, Scotland In 
the course of time he was given an interest in the busines 
of his uncle, the Hon. Alex. Campbell, which now went 
by the name of Campbell and Company. Subsequently 
he commenced a mercantile business for himself in the 
village, his shop being situated at the corner of Main 
Street and the Public Lane. He built and lived his married 
life in the house now owned by Miss Mclntosh. Mr. Millar, 

*Canae to Pictou in 1773. 


until his death in 1895, was one of the most prominent men 
in the village. Until its dissolution in 1868, he was Colonel 
of the 6th Colchester Battalion, Nova Scotia Militia. He 
was one of the representatives of Tatamagouche in the 
Municipal Council and, for at least one term, was Warden 
of the County. He was also a Justice of the Peace. A 
business man of the old school, he introduced into whatever 
matter he had on hand, those rules of punctuality which 
characterised the business men of that time. In later years, 
when he and Henderson Gass drove on week days from their 
homes to their places of business in the village, it has been 
said that they were so punctual that when they opened their 
shops in the morning, it was a signal for the people to set 
their watches at eight o'clock. He was married to Louisa 
Patterson, a daughter of Abram Patterson of Pictou. George, 
their third son, is a Presbyterian minister at Alberton, 
Prince Edward Island. Alexander, their youngest son, 
succeeded his father in business. He was a municipal 
councillor for Tatamagouche West for one term. He is 
now residing at Sydney, N. S. Another son, William, is 
engaged in railway work in the American West. 

In 1837, Robert Purves came from Pictou to engage 
first in lumbering and subsequently in shipbuilding. He 
purchased a lot from Mortimer in 1839 and began building 
along the shore below where the late W. A. Patterson subse- 
quently lived. He also built a vessel across the harbour on Oak 
Island, which then became known as "Ship Yard" Island. His 
house was erected close to where the railway now runs. After 
conducting business here for a number of years, he removed 
to Wallace, but he subsequently leturned to Tatamagouche, 
and built that large residence known as "Oak Hall", which 
remained the property of his daughter, Mary, till it was 
purchased a year or so ago by E. L. W. Haskett-Smith. In 
his business transactions he appeared to be most successful 
and, at his death in 1872, he was considered a well-off 
man. His son, Robert, was for many years the post- 
master in the village. He also conducted a general store. 
A daughter, Mary, lived in the old home till a few years 
ago, when she removed to Sydney, where she died in the 
winter of 1916. Mrs. Wallis, in England, is another daughter. 

It was in or before the year 1838 that Robert D. Cutten 


came from Onslow to Tatamagouche. He was by trade 
both a tinsmith and sparmaker. His first shop was in what 
is now the orchard of Gavin Clark. He built the house now 
owned by Mrs. Robert Jollimore. He was married to Hannah 
Pryde. Three of his sons, Edward, David, and William, are 
now residing in the States, wheie the family removed some 
time in the "sixties". 

In or about the same year, John Irvine came to Tata- 
magouche from Pictou to work at his trade as block-maker in 
the shipyard of Alexander Campbell. His first house was built 
on the west side of the main road, a little west of Mrs. 
Crowe's. About this time a number of men who were 
employed in the various yards built residences along 
this road, so that it was commonly known as "Mechanic 
Street". Subsequently Irvine built and lived in the house 
now owned by Arthur Cunningham. He was accidently 
killed by falling from a beam in his barn. His wife was 
Maysie MacKinnon. Their family of six boys are all dead. 
William died of yellow fever while on a voyage to Havana. 
James moved to the Southern States where he died only 
a few years ago. The other members of the family were 
George, Joseph, Robert, and Washington. 

By this time the shipbuilding industry had, for a place 
of the population of Tatamagouche, reached almost gigantic 
proportions. A hurried glance at Appendix D, which gives 
a list of vessels built at Tatamagouche, will show that during 
the "thirties" there were, as a rule, three or four ships, averag- 
ing 200 tons each, built each year at Tatamagouche. The 
years 1836-7-8-9 were extremely busy ones. "The Mersey", 
a ship of 734 tons, built in 1837, was the largest one at that 
time to be launched in North Colchester. The total tonnage 
built here in 1837-9 amounted to somewhere around 5,500 

In 1840-1 there was a serious financial depression 
which had full effect in Nova Scotia. Freights were low 
and there was little or no market for ships. Many 
of the Nova Scotian builders went insolvent. At Tatama- 
gouche though suffering seriously they managed to weather 
the gale and, fn a year or,p, conditions were again normal. 
.From that date, shipbuilding in Tatamagouche, as elsewhere 
in Nova Scotia, had a new lease of life, and during the follow- 


ing years, the population of Tatamagouche continued to 
be increased by a number who came here either to build 
vessels or to work in the yards. But before dealing with 
the events of these years, we may note two or three fatal 
accidents which occurred in this community sometime 
during the years 1830-40. 

One of these took place in the year 1836 at the inn of 
old William Currie. John Doull, who was one of the early 
settlers at Brule, had come on horseback from Halifax, 
whither he had been on business, and stopped at the inn 
for his dinner. After his meal, while he was endeavouring 
to unhitch his horse, it kicked him on the head, causing 
almost immediate death. 

Another tragic death which occurred about the same 
time, possibly a few years later, was that of a man by the 
name of Regan, who had previously belonged to Halifax. 
He had been engaged in hauling logs and was unloading 
them on the bank of Waugh's River near the small creek, a 
little east of where Abe Currie now resides. He had un- 
hitched one horse for the purpose of hauling the heavy 
logs off the waggon, and while putting the chain around a 
stick, the hook caught in his trousers at the ankle. Before 
he could free himself, the horse took sudden fright, and 
he was dragged helplessly on the ground. All his efforts 
to loose himself or stop the horse were in vain, but his cries 
attracted the attention of Murray Currie, a son of John 
Currie, who immediately ran to the road in an endeavour 
to stop the horse. Before he could reach the animal, a 
small dog which was with him had by barking and biting 
so frightened it, that all his attempts were futile. The 
small brook near McCulloiigh's was then crossed by a log 
bridge, on which repairs were being made, and while Regan 
was dragged over it, a loose stick ran into his side. The 
frightened animal continued to drag man and stick until 
it was finally caught near where Archie Waugh now lives. 
The unfortunate man's injuries were most serious and in a 
short time he died. 

But the most shocking accident which ever occurred 
in the community was the one that resulted in the death 
of a young child of Hector Sutherland, an early settler, 
who was then living on the farm now owned by George 


McKay near the Mine Hole. His house was a small 
log one close to which extended the primeval forest. A 
short time previous to the time of the accident, there had 
been a heavy wind storm which had uprooted several of 
the large trees near the house. In his spare moments, 
Sutherland, with the assistance of a neighbour would saw 
these trqes into blocks for shingles. One day while they 
were engaged at this work, the child was sent by its mother 
to call them to their meal. As neither the child nor the men 
returned, the mother became alarmed, and, on going to 
her husband, she was surprised to learn that they had neither 
seen nor heard of the child. Word was at once sent to all 
the neighbours and to the village, and a search party organ- 
ized. Alexander Campbell, so it is said, not only offered a 
large reward for the recovery of the child, but allowed all 
the men in his yards to join in the search and even sent 
provisions (including a good supply of rum) to the men who 
were searching in the woods. No trace of the child was found 
and after a day or two the search was given up, all knowing 
that by that time the child would have perished from hunger 
and exposure. Some time previous, Indians had been seen 
in the vicinity of the Mine Hole and it was generally 
believed that they were responsible for the disappearance 
of the child. A few days later, other Indians, induced by 
the prospect of obtaining so large a reward, and believing 
that some of their less worthy brothers had been guilty of 
stealing the child, went as far east as Cape Breton in search 
of the missing one, but they returned without accomplishing 
anything. Several weeks after the mystery was cleared up, 
but in a most ghastly manner. A quarrel between a cat 
and a dog attracted the attention of the parents, who were 
surprised and shocked to find the cause of the quarrel was 
none other than the hand of their lost child. When going 
to call them, it had climbed up on the upturned root of the 
tree on which the men were working. When it had been severed 
from its trunk, its weight carrying it back, had crushed the 
child to death. There the body had remained unknown to 
all, till the dog, discovering it, had brought it once more 
to the sight of the parents. 

Among others who, during the late "thirties" and the 
'forties" came to Tatamagouche and who subsequently became 


some of its leading citizens, we may note the following: James 
McKeen, Edward Kent, Archibald Patterson, Charles Reilly, 
Robert Logan, William Fraser, and Henderson and Robert 

James McKeen was a native of St. Mary's, Guysborough 
County, and came to Tatamagouche to take over the tanning 
business then operated by James Campbell and James Hep- 
burn of Pictou. This business he conducted till shortly 
before his death in 1894. He was married to Mary, a sister 
of Charles Reilly. In their family were John, who was man- 
ager of the Bank of Nova Scotia at Amherst, Ottawa and 
Halifax, and who in 1915 was elected a controller of 
the City of Halifax; James, who is a Presbyterian minister at 
Orono, Ontario; Charles, who resides on the old homestead; and 
Kate, Jessie, Emily (Mrs. Maxwell), Janie (Mrs. Abram H. 
Patterson), Sophia (Mrs. E. D. Roach), Elizabeth (Mrs. 
McGregor), Annie, and Hannah. 

Edward Kent was the grandson of James Kent, who 
was born in Alloa, Scotland, in 1749. His father was John 
Kent who lived in Lower Stewiacke, where Edward Kent 
was born in 1823. Coming to Tatamagouche, he engaged 
in blacksmithing first, then in shipbuilding and other mer- 
cantile business. He erected the house now owned by Dr. 
Murray. In 1851, he built his first vessel, the "Little Pet", 
which was launched up the river below where Abe Currie 
now lives. After this, until shortly before his death in 1870, 
he continued at the same business. His wife was Jessie 
Williamson, who still survives. In his family were David, 
of the village; James, in the States; Roach and Alex, in 
California; Mary (Mrs. Ingraham); Jeanette; Florence, who 
was a distinguished actress; Jessie; and Janie Bell. 

Archibald Patterson was a grandson of John Patterson, 
who was one of the Pictou pioneers of the "Hector" His 
father was Abram Patterson, of the same place. He first 
came to Tatamagouche and engaged in trading in lumber 
and other business, but it was not till 1854 that he built 
in his shipyards, where Bonyman's factory now stands, 
his first vessel, the "MacDuff.* In 1862, Patterson was 
appointed a member of the Legislative Council, a position 

*In 1861-2, he built the barque "Laurette" for Lowden and Company of New York. 
Her first trip was to Havana. While there yellow fever broke out among the crew and all 
died including the captain, Jacob Roberts, and William Irvine, the second mate. 


which he held till Confederation. In 1868 he retired from 
business in Tatamagouche and moved to Halifax where he 
was Inspector in the Inland Revenue Department. He was 
married to Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of the Hon. Alex- 
ander Campbell. Mrs. Patterson is now living in Truro. 
A. C. Patterson who, till his death in 1913, was a barrister 
in Truro, was a son. Mrs. J. W. Revere was a daughter. 

Charles Reilly, of Irish "descent, came from Pictou to 
Tatamagouche and worked for a while in Campbell's tannery. 
His first house was a small one built in the front of what is now 
the house lot of C. K. McLellan. For a number of years 
he lived there with his sisters until they were married to 
James McKeen, Robert Bryden, and James McLearn 
Reilly was married to Susan Kent, the widow of William 
Bryden. Subsequently he lived on the property now owned 
by his daughters Misses Annie and Sarah. Here, till his 
death, he carried on his trade as a butcher. He was for a 
short time in the shipbuilding business and built a few 
vessels on the river below where James Bryden now resides. 
William Reilly, of the village, is his only surviving son. 
Another son, John, died in the States only a year or so ago. 

Robert Logan came to Tatamagouche from New Glasgow 
and was employed for a number of years as clerk for William 
Campbell. He became interested in shipbuilding and built 
for a number of years on the river a little below Clark's wharf. 
After retiring from business, he was appointed Collector of 
Customs at this port. His wife was Mary Bryden, sister 
of Robert Bryden. One son, Capt. William, died at sea from 
an attack of yellow fever. Another son, Robert, and a 
daughter, Anna Bell, are now living in Bridgewater, Nova 

In 1840, William Fraser, of Pictou, built here a brig, 
"James", for James Cameron of Halifax. In a few years he 
became foreman for the Hon. Alex. Campbell and after Camp- 
bell's death he continued to act in that capacity for the firm 
till shipbuilding at Tatamagouche was of the past. He 
built and lived in the house in Mechanic Street which is 
now owned by C. N. Cunningham. His wife was a sister 
of Mrs. Irvine. Two of his sons, Marmaduke and Howard 
Primrose, met a tragic death by being drowned in the wreck 
of the "Indian Chief" on the Goodwin Sands. One daughter, 


Elizabeth, was married to Alexander Williamson and lived 
until her death in South America. Another daughter, Alice, 
is now living in Westville. Mr. Fraser was a most efficient 
foreman, and some of his ships were of the finest built in 
Nova Scotia. He was one of the most highly respected men 
in the village and from 1860 till he removed to Pictou, was 
an elder in the Tatamagouche Presbyterian congregation. 
Henderson and Robert Gass were brothers, sons of 
John Gass who came from Dumfries, Scotland, and settled 
at Pictou in 1816. The former, a saddler by trade, came to 
Tatamagouche about 1848 and took up his residence on the 
street next to John Millar's. He was captain of the Lake 
Road Company of the Nova Scotia Militia. His wife was 
Eliza Irish. He died in the winter of 1912. Among his 
children are: Mrs. James Ramsey of the village; Miss Kate 
Gass, Cambridge; George, of Trenton; and William, of 

Robert Gass was a shoe-maker and came to Tatamagouche 
about the same time as perhaps a little later than his 
brother. He died in 1894. One son, Robert, is now living 
in the United States. 

Later on, it may be noted, there came another Robert 
Gass, who took up the Blockhouse farm and to distinguish 
him from his cousin, Robert the shoe-maker, they were com- 
monly called "Shoe-maker Bob" and "Blockhouse Bob". 
Robert (Blockhouse) Gass was a son of Joseph Gass, who 
came to Pictou from Dumfries with his brothers Robert and 
John in 1816, but who removed to Cape John in 1842. Robert 
Gass was twice married to sisters, Misses Perrin of River 
John. Several children by his first marriage still survive. 
They are: Will, in Bass River; Mrs. Till and Mrs. Elwood, 
of Boston; and Mrs. McLellan in the West. 

Among others, who in the early "forties" lived on Mech 
anic Street, we may note William Higgins, a shoe-maker, and 
James Grant, a blacksmith. Both subsequently removed 
to Wallace. 

Until the time of the arrival of these families, nearly 
all the houses and places of business at Tatamagouche were 
on the west side of French River in the vicinity of Campbell's 
shipyards, and there seemed every indication that the site 
of the future village would be there. From Campbell's to 


Waugh's there were houses only at rare intervals and outside 
the cluster of buildings at the former place, there was nothing 
that could assume even the name of a hamlet. In fact, as 
late as the "forties" there were only four buildings between 
Wm. Campbell's and McConnelPs tavern. These were the 
houses of Neil Ramsey and Mungo Heughan, the old Presby- 
terian meeting house and the small shop of John Blackwood. 
Alex. Campbell, however, who either owned or con- 
trolled nearly all the land near the French River, was averse 
to selling, and men found it difficult, if not impossible, to 
obtain land from him. James Campbell and others 
who owned the lots where the present village is situated, 
had no such aversion. They were willing and ready 
to dispose of their land. Then the shore along these 
lots was well suited for shipyards, as a comparatively deep 
channel ran close to the bank. It was for these reasons that 
the shipbuilders and others who came in the "forties", located 
where they did, alid thus, in a great measure, determined 
the location of the present village. 

A man named Young is said to have been the first to 
erect a shop in the present village. He came here 
interested in shipbuilding, and built a small store near the 
site of Thomas Bonyman's forge. This store was afterwards 
purchased by Robert Logan and moved down to the corner 
of Main Street and New Annan Road where, enlarged and 
with frequent repairs, it stands till this day, still in use as 
a place of business. 

One of the first tailors to come to Tatamagouche was 
Mungo Heughan. He had been employed aboard a man- 
of-war and, after leaving the sea, settled down for the rest 
of his days at Tatamagouche. He had his shop and house 
on the east corner of the present Manse property. For 
years he was Superintendent of the village Sunday School; 
in all probability of the first regular Sunday School to 
be held here. John Heughan, who settled on the New 
Annan Road, and James Heughan, of Cariboo are two of his 

John McDowl, who came here in 1841 from River John, 
was another tailor. He lived in the house now owned by 
J. T. B. Henderson, Esq. Previous to his coming, one 
Telfer, who came in the early "thirties," and who also was 



a tailor, had his shop in this building. John McDowl, 
the veteran engine driver is a son. 

It was about this time that Stephen Rood, a ship 
carpenter, settled in Tatamagouche. He built and lived 
in the house now owned by Charles Brown. Charles Rood, 
of New Glasgow, is a son. 

It was in 1840 that the Rev. Robert Blackwood came 
to Tatamagouche. He first lived in a house near where Mrs. 
Crowe now resides but subsequently he removed to the 
house now owned by Charles Brown. His wife was Anne 
McCara, daughter of the Rev. John McCara of Scotland. 
In their family were Jessie, who was the wife of Rev. Dr. 
Smith of Upper Stewiacke; David who lived in Halifax; and 
William who remained in Tatamagouche. The last was one 
of the best known men and merchants in North Colchester. 
For a time he was in public life and represented the Northern 
District of Colchester in the House of Assembly from 1863 to 
1867. In politics he was a strong Liberal and an opponent 
of Confederation. 

About the same time (1840) David Murdock and his 
wife, Sara Wilson, both from Scotland, settled at what has 
since been known as the Murdock farm, on Waugh's River. 
The property, as we have seen, had previously been owned 
by William Currie. Murdock had been a game keeper in 
the estate of a Scotch nobleman, and his wife had been the 
house-keeper. He came out first and then she joined him. 
He met her in Truro and conveyed her over the mountain 
in a cart. They had no children and the farm was given to 
his nephew, David Murdock, father of the present owner 
John Murdock. 

One of the last families that came directly from Scot- 
land to settle at Tatamagouche, was the Clark family of 
Aberdeen. It would be sometime around 1842-3, when 
two brothers, John and James, who were the first to come 
out, arrived at Tatamagouche. They landed at Halifax, 
and from there walked to Tatamagouche. Often, in later 
years, they used to relate how, on a Sunday morning, when 
the people were coming from the church, they reached the 
village in their bare feet, and had their first meal in what 
was to be their future home, at the house of Mungo Heughan. 



John settled on the Mill Brook, near what is known as 
the Peugh Bridge. At the time of the gold rush to Australia, 
he, in company with his brother, went and remained for 
a number of years in that colony. On his return he lived 
for a year on the Robert Bell farm at Waldegrave, and then 
went into business in the village. In 1871, he built the shop 
now owned by J. M. Bonyman & Company. In 1860, he 
was elected elder in the Tatamagouche Presbyterian con- 
gregation, a position which he faithfully held until his death. 
For years he was superintendent of the village Sunday 
School, to which office he gave his unfaltering attention till 
advancing years made it impossible for him to perform its 
duties. His venerable figure and kindly word will always 
be remembered by those who, as boys and girls, sat on Sun- 
days beneath his charge. In August, 1901, he met a sudden 
death, by being drowned while bathing in the river below 
his house. 

James Clark, on his return from Australia, settled on 
the farm now owned by his son, Sydney, at Bayhead. He for 
number of years was one of the representatives of Tatama- 
gouche in the Municipal Council. He was also a Justice 
of the Peace. He died in 1891. 

There were four other members of this family who also 
settled in Tatamagouche: George, Charles, Robert, and 
William. The last three took up farms on the Mill Brook. 
George early entered into business for himself in the village. 
Beginning in a small way, he built up a prosperous business 
and soon became the leading hardware merchant of the 
village. So successful was he, that at the time of his death 
he was the most influential and probably the wealthiest man 
in North Colchester. In politics he was a strong Liberal 
and a firm believer in the principles of Free Trade. In 1886, 
and again in 1890, he was elected to represent Colchester 
in the House of Assembly. He died in May, 1905. 

The last settler to come directly from Scotland to 
Tatamagouche was David Donaldson, of Perthshire. In 
1849, he left Scotland and, after a voyage of six weeks, 
landed at Pictou. He first settled at Brule, on the farm now 
owned by his grandson, A. P. Semple. He built his first 
log house close to the creek which ran through his 
farm. At the time of his arrival, this fine property was 


heavily wooded with hemlock. He appears to have been 
particularly successful as a farmer. The land there is very 
fertile and it is said that in a few years, he was able, one 
winter to sell a ton of flour made from the wheat grown 
on his own place. After remaining for seven years at Brule, 
he removed to French River, near the bridge now known by 
his name. At the same time there came to Tatamagouche 
with Donaldson, his sons-in-law, Wm. Menzie and James 
Semple. The former went first to Fox Harbour, Cumberland 
County and then to the "Back Road" to River John. Sub- 
sequently he came to the village to live. James Semple 
remained on the farm at Brule. Six years later came a third 
son-in-law, Thomas Malcolm, who settled at Brule where 
his son, Robert D. Malcolm, now resides. 

David Donaldson was married to Mary Hutchinson, of 
Perthshire. He died in 1891, aged eighty-four, and his 
'wife in 1895, aged ninety-two. Their sons were Robert, 
John, and George, who removed to New Zealand and Aus- 
tralia, and William and David who remained on their father's 
farm. The daughters were Agnes (Mrs. Menzie), Elizabeth 
(Mrs. Malcolm), Cecelia (Mrs. Semple), Jane (Mrs. 
Langille) of the village, and Mary (Mrs. Wm. Langille), 
French River. The last three are the only surviving members 
of the family. Mrs. Menzie, being the eldest, had reached 
maturity before leaving Scotland, and was the only member 
of the family to speak the Scottish dialect. 

Along with shipbuilding came also the sister industry, 
lumbering. As we have already noted, the commencement 
of this industry was the sale of square pine timber in the 
Old Country. It was soon eclipsed in importance by ship- 
building but, nevertheless, it continued to give employment 
to many men, particularly in the winter months. At first 
the lumber was manufactured entirely by hand, the large 
logs being sawn into boards or other material by the laborious 
efforts of two men on a whip saw. With the opening of the 
English market, and the introduction of water mills, the 
industry went forward in leaps and bounds. Small mills, 
we have already noted, were constructed by the French, but 
these were probably used for grinding grain more than for 
sawing purposes. William Waugh, the son of old Wellwood 
Waugh, is said to have been about the first to build a water 


mill at Tatamagouche for sawing lumber. Certain it is 
that he erected one at a very early date on the small stream 
which is still known as the "Mill Brook". Later on 
the Hon. Alex. Campbell built a small mill on the Black 
Brook, just a little east of where it is now -crossed 
by the road to Balfron. The remains of the old dam can 
yet be seen. During the "thirties," a number of others were 
constructed. William Campbell built one on the French 
River on the lot now owned by James Ramsey. Abram 
Patterson, of Pictou, also built a gmall mill on the Mill Brook 
branch of the French River. During the subsequent years, 
a dozen or so of similar mills were erected at various places 
on French and Waugh's Rivers and up till the time of the 
introduction of steam mills they did all the sawing. 

About the early "fifties" Abram Patterson, who was now 
actively engaged in the lumbering industry, came to live 
at Tatamagouche. He bought the property subsequently 
owned by his son, the late W. A. Patterson. Engaged with him 
in this business was James Primrose of Pictou. For a time 
they operated a mill at Porteous', French River. They 
then commenced cutting some of the larger and better 
lumber pn the mountain lots and erected a mill near Farm 
Lake. They were the first to commence here the planing 
and other manufacturing of lumber. 

Abram Patterson was a son of John Patterson (who 
came to Pictou in the "Hector") and was married to Christina, 
the eldest daughter of Dr. MacGregor, the pioneer Presby- 
terian minister in Pictou. One of his sons, Archie, as we 
have noted, was engaged for a number of years in ship- 
building at Tatmagouche. His youngest son, W. A. Patter- 
son, Esq., continued in the lumber business. In 1874 
he was elected as a Conservative to represent Colchester in 
the Provincial House. He was a member of that House 
till 1886, being re-elected in 1878 and 1882. In 1891 he was 
elected to the Dominion House of Commons and sat in 
that House till his retirement from political life in 1896. 
He died June, 1917. 

The year 1847 was a hard one for this community. 
A financial depression caused the bottom to fall out of 
the ship market and, consequently, there was no profitable 
sale for ships of any kind. Many of the shipbuilders 


of Nova Scotia lost heavily. With scarcely a mo- 
ment's warning, thousands of dollars and the wealth of 
years were swept away. It is said that Alexander Campbell 
was the only builder on the North Shore who remained 
solvent, but this is probably an exaggeration.* He, though 
he suffered severely, was able to continue his business. This 
depression, as the ones of '25 and '40, soon passed away 
and times in a year or so were better than ever. 

These years from 1825 to 1847 were crowded with many 
events and crowned with much prosperity for the people of 
Tatamagouche. Every year, as the log cabins decreased, 
the frame dwellings increased. The settlers no longer 
struggled for the necessaries of life alone, for into their 
homes had already oome a few of the simplest luxuries. No 
longer was it necessary to carry provisions through the 
woods from Truro, or along the shore from Pictou, for a 
dozen or more merchants were here with their stores full of 
various goods and commodities. Labor was abundant 
and wages, for those days were good. Tatamagouche was 
yet to see darker days by far than those of 1825-47. 

One great improvement was in the roads. When 
the first settlers came here the only road, or rather 
trail, was across the mountains to Truro. f If we can rely 
upon the old French records, this road was then in good 
condition, and in all probability its course was followed 
by the subsequent settlers. To Pictou there was no path 
whatever, and as late as 1793, people went to that place 
by following along the shore to River John and from there 
they would either strike through the woods or continue 
along the shore. We have been unable to ascertain when 
the road from Pictou to Tatamagouche was opened, but 
in 1833, we find that the sum of 40 was granted by the 
Assembly for a bridge at Currie's ^Mur dock's). The road 
must have been opened a considerable time before this 
date as, for a number of years, the river was forded at 
that place. The first road through the village ran south of 
the present main road, somewhere back of where James 
Ramsey now resides. What is now commonly known as 
the "Back Street" is a continuance of the old road. 

The writer knows for a fact that at least one other builder, Alex. McKenzie of 
River John, remained solvent. 

fThis was also an old French trail, running from Tatamagouche to Chignecto. Thia 
was opened by La Corne in 1746. 


The first bridge across the French River was built about 
the same place as the present one. The next one was placed 
higher up on the bank and nearer the main river. It must 
have been constructed at the early period before shipbuilding 
had become of any great importance. The bridge, as then 
located, did away with the long and inconvenient Camp- 
bell's and McCully's Hills, but its position prevented 
the launching of any large ships from Campbell's yards and 
consequently it was, when being rebuilt, moved further up 
the river to its former site. It was, of course, a wooden 
structure. The writer has been unable to ascertain in what 
year it was built but, in 1839,* the sum of 100 was granted 
for the erection of a bridge over the French River and it 
was, in all probability, during that year that this bridge 
was built. At\he time of its construction, a petition 
was presented to the Government praying that a draw 
be placed in the bridge so that those who lived further up 
the river would not be precluded from shipbuilding. The 
petition stated that the river was navigable one mile 
above the bridge for ships of twenty feet draught. We 
rather fear that the then citizens of Tatamagouche were 
more eager to obtain the draw than to sustain their accustomed 
reputation for veracity. The present steel structure, which 
is on the same site, was built sometime during the "eighties". 
The first bridge at Lockerbie's was built on the site of the 
present one, some time about 1840, possibly a year or so later. 

In 1825 people at Tatamagouche had little intercourse 
with the outside world. They were a little colony by them- 
selves. In 1847 this was no longer true. Her ships sailed 
to every quarter of the globe, and to her harbour came 
vessels bearing the flags of a score of nations and manned 
by sailors of various nationalities and speaking a dozen 
different tongues. With the exceptions of Halifax, Yarmouth, 
Sydney, Pictou, and possibly a few others, Tatamagouche 
had as much intercourse with the outside world as any 
other port in Nova Scotia. Improved roads, too, led to 
more communication with nearby places. 

In regard to early postal service, we have little infor- 

*In 1851 Rev. John Sprott visited Tatamagouche. He writes as follows: "When I first 
visited Tatamagouche, thirty years ago, I crossed the French River, where the noble bridge 
now stands, on a cake of floating ice for want of a canoe. On the one side it. has now a long 
range of shops, and on the other the princely mansion of the Hon. Alex. Campbell, backed by 
a splendid orchard and shaded by trees." 


mation. Wellwood Waugh was, as we have seen, the first 
courier between Truro and Tatamagouche. At that time 
the only interprovincial mail coming from what is now the 
Upper Provinces, was landed at Tatamagouche. The sailing 
vessel "Mercury"* made regular trips to and from Quebec. 
It was evidently this mail which Waugh carried as far as 
Truro. Who succeeded him in this responsible duty is unknown. 
After a time this method of bringing the mails from Quebec 
was abandoned, and apparently they were brought all the 
way by land for, we find that in 1821, the inhabitants of 
Pugwash, Wallace, and Tatamagouche presented a petition 
to the House of Assembly for a sum to be set aside to defray 
the expense of a weekly mail service to those places from the 
main post road that ran over the mountains in the vicinity 
of Westchester. There is no record to show that the prayer 
of this petition was ever granted, and we have never heard 
of any mail route running through those places to 

About 1843, a tri-weekly mail was established between 
Halifax, Pictou and various points along the northern shore 
of Nova Scotia. A man by the name of Arnison drove this 
mail from Pictou to Tatamagouche. Many can yet recollect 
him as, driving into the village over Lockerbie's Hill, he would 
announce his coming by the blowing of a horn. Subsequently, 
James Blair, who came to Tatamagouche about the middle 
"fifties", drove the mail from Pictou to Tatamagouche. In 
Belcher's Almanac this mail, running to Pictou, Wallace 
and Amherst, is said to have run tri-weekly, but those whose 
memory reaches back into those years say that at that time 
the mail came through Tatamagouche but once a week. 
There was also a mail from Truro which at first came at irregu- 
lar intervals, usually brought by a man or boy on horseback. 
One of the last drivers was Tim Archibald, who drove two 
horses tandem. 

During the "sixties", when the "Heather Bell" was plying 
between Brule and Charlottetown, mails were received here 
twice a week from both Halifax and the Island. 

In 1867, "Blair's Express", owned by James Blair, ran 

*The vessel commenced running from Quebec to Tatamagouche about 1778 and was 
used during the Revolutionary War in particular, for carrying despatches from Sorel. A 
messenger was landed here and either proceeded in person over the mountain or obtained 
another courier. 


over the mountain to Truro. We take the following from 
Belcher's Almanac of that date: 

"Blair's Express, a mail waggon, leaves Truro for Tatamagouche, Wallace 
and Pugwash on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, returning on the inter- 
vening days." 

With the opening of the railway to Pictou and the main 
line through Wentworth, we received regular mails from those 

As far as we are aware, the first postmaster at Tatama- 
gouche was Wm. McConnell, who, as we have seen, conducted 
a tavern where the "Stirling Hotel" is now situated. The 
writer has seen a letter bearing date 1843 addressed "c/o Wm. 
McConnell, postmaster". About 1855, possibly before, John 
Lombaid was appointed postmaster. Four years later the 
office was moved up the road and kept by James McLearn. 
In 1863, Wm. Fraser* became postmaster and, in 1866, 
Isaac Blair was appointed. Three years later, Robert 
Purves became postmaster, and held the position till his 
death when he was succeeded by his widow. At her death, 
in 1904, Dr. Johnson was appointed, f 

The years following the depression of 1847 were busy 
ones for the shipbuilders at Tatamagouche. The English 
market was good and there arose a demand in New- 
foundland for vessels of about 100 tons built especially for 
seal fishing. Several who had not previously gone into the 
business began at once building vessels of this type. 
The year 1857 was long known, indeed to this day, as the 
"big year" at Tatamagouche. In that year fourteen vessels 
were on the stocks at one time. Campbells, Purves, Logan, 
Kent, Patterson, Reilly, Robert Bryden, Wm. Blackwood, 
and B. F. McKay all built that year. Some had two or 
three. The whole shore from Lockerbie's to Ross' Point 
was one busy hive of industry. One vessel was built on 
the shore across from Campbell's Point, another one on 
Ross' Point, two or three at Campbells', one at the mouth 
of the small creek which runs through Gordon Clark's field, 
three or four in the yards of Kent, Logan and Patterson, and 
two up below James Bryden's, where Reilly and McLaren 
were building. This was the high water mark for ship- 

*The office waa, however, not moved down the road but was kept in a little shop near 
where D. W. Menzie now resides. 

fBesides those mentioned above, there were others who held the office of postmaster 
for short times. Robert Logan and Robert Cutten were two and there may have been others. 


building at Tatamagouche. For a few years markets con- 
tinued good and all went well. But every few years there 
came a repetition of the financial crises which we have 
already noted and then the entrance of steamers into the 
work of ocean transportation was gradually ruining the 
market for wooden sailing vessels. 

On the first day of April, 1854, there occurred an unusually 
heavy freshet. The exceptionally heavy snow-fall of 
the winter had all remained on the ground until the 
beginning of a heavy rainstorm which commenced on one 
of the last days of March. Many of the bridges on Waugh's 
and French Rivers were swept away, and a large jam of ice 
formed fiom Patterson's wharf across to Steele's Island. 
The waters, in rising, engulfed the island and flooded the 
barn of John Steele which was built on thfe low slope of the 
mainland near the island. All his cattle were drowned. The 
following account of the storm is taken from the diary of 
the Rev. Robert Black wood: 

"A most fearful storm and freshet on the first of April, 1854. It melted 
the snow, raised the ice, and carried before it bridges to an alarming extent 
on Waugh's River. Campbell's, Murdoch's and Lockerbie's bridges were 
carried away with one general sweep. The river must, with the ice, have 
raised eight or ten feet. One poor man, Steele, lost thirty head of sheep, twelve 
head of cattle, one horse, and his buildings, to which the freshet never rose 

One who, during the "fifties", entered into business at 
Tatamagouche, and who was the first to erect a shop of two 
stories in the village, was Stewart Kislepaugh. His was 
such a peculiar character that we must give him more than 
passing notice. His father had been a French soldier who 
during the retreat from Moscow had served under Napoleon. 
After the war, the old soldier came to Nova Scotia 
and finally settled on Tatamagouche Mountain. There, 
one of his neighbours was a man who, during the 
same wars had fought under the banner of England, 
and the old warriors rather than forget their quarrels 
of the past, showed a disposition to fight them over once 
again. Stewart, as a young man, came to work in the 
village, first as a clerk for Robert Purves and then for James 
Campbell, who ran a small store near where J. R. Ferguson 
now resides. Eventually he commenced business for himself. 
His shop was destroyed by fire. Stewart had just opened 
a cask of turpentine and some of the contents had been spilled 


on the floor. A number of men were in the store at the 
time, and one of them who was smoking remarked "Stewart, 
you don't know the great risk you are running with that 
turpentine." He was alluding to the danger of fire. At 
the same time a lighted match fell from his hands, and, 
before the men could think or act, the interior of the building 
burst into flames. He rebuilt, this time a building of two 
stories, where the store of James Bonyman & Co. now stands. 
In 1862 this shop was also destroyed by fire. Stewart was left a 
poor man and, for a number of years was absent in South 
America. Returning, he found himself in poverty. Gone 
was all his former prosperity and, like King Lear, he was 
content to live in a mere hovel. He was a man of much intelli- 
gence, was well read and possessed a great deal of public 
spirit. Perhaps more than anything else he was noted 
for his ready wit and practical jokes. Many of his sayings 
and stories are still remembered and retold, always with 
appreciation. During his last years he lived in an old shop 
across the road from where D. W. Menzie now resides. A 
great part of his time he used in doing acts of kindness to 
those whom he could in any way assist. There are many 
today who regard his memory with the warmest feelings, 
and think with sadness that a personality which had so 
much of the finest qualities accomplished so little. "Stew- 
art's" pump, which, due mainly to his labours, was pre- 
served for the public, stands as his monument, and daily 
recalls the memory of this peculiar but zealous citizen. He 
died in the winter of 1894. 

About 1850, James Blair came from North River to 
take over the hotel at Tatamagouche. He also ran the 
stage from Truro to Tatamagouche and Wallace. His wife 
was a Miss Lyons. Isaac Blair is his son. 

In 1854, William McKenzie came, as a young man, 
from Pictou to act as a foreman in 'the shipyard of Archibald 
Patterson. He was a man strong in body and in mind, 
and in every way typical of the splendid, virile people 
which at that time Nova Scotia and Pictou County in par- 
ticular, seemed able to produce. As a ship foreman he had 
few equals, being at all times able to hold the confidence of 
his men and employers; and it has often been said that he 
was able to get more work out of his men than any other 


foreman of his time. In later days, when he retired from 
active work, his advice was readily sought after in matters 
relating to the construction of wooden ships. He died in the 
winter of 1911, aged eighty-seven. 

The first carriage builder to come to Tatamagouche 
was John A. McCurdy, of Onslow. In the early "fifties", he 
commenced business in a shop about opposite the present 
Post Office. He was married to Elizabeth Bryden and lived 
in the house now owned by Dr. Sedgwick. His two children 
are Mrs. C. N. Cunningham of the village, and Gordon, 
who is Police Inspector of the Rainy River District. About 
1860, McCurdy moved back to Onslow and Alex. McLeod 
commenced the same business in the shop now owned by 
James Perrin. 

In 1854, James McLearn came from Halifax to Tata- 
magouche. He built the house now owned by Mrs. Menzie. 
He engaged in shipbuilding and built a number of vessels 
in the yards below where James Bryden now resides. He 
also had charge of the first telegraph office to be established 
in the village. His wife was a sister of Charles Reilly. 
He removed, first to California, then to Halifax, where he 

Those who, during the subsequent years, have come 
to live at Tatamagouche are so well known to the public 
of today that to deal with them individually would be super- 
fluous. Some are still with us; others have but recently passed 
away. Of those who, during or about the years 1855-65, 
came to Tatamagouche from various places in Pictou County, 
we may mention: Daniel Barclay, Alexander Matheson, 
and David Fraser, merchants; Alex. McLeod, carriage 
builder; Andrew Urquhart and George Douglas, blacksmiths; 
and D. A. Fraser, tailor. Others who, about these years, 
were in business at Tatamagouche were Archibald Mingo 
and Jeremiah Murphy who built what was long after known 
as Clark's wharf. 

Concerning those who are still alive, or who have but 
recently passed away, the writer has, for obvious reasons, 
forborne to make any more than passing remarks. But a 
most justifiable exception may be made in the cases of Rev. 
Dr. Sedgwick and the late E. D. Roach, M. D. These two 
men were, as indeed one is today, for so many years the 


leading and outstanding men of this community, that we are 
constrained to add a few words of tribute, imperfect as they 
may be, to their character and service. Both came to Tata- 
magouche in the fall of 1860 as young men fresh from college 
and entered with all the ardour, of early manhood into their 
professional duties. Both, too, belonged to those professions 
which bring their members into the /closest contact with 
the people. There is not a home in this community but 
has, especially in the time of sorrow and trouble, received 
these men as comforters and healers of soul and body. With 
the life and service of Dr. Sedgwick we shall deal in the 
chapter on the Churches and their Ministers. 

Dr. Roach was a native of Cumberland County where 
he received his early education. After graduating from 
Pennsylvania Medical College, he came to Tatamagouche 
where he continued for forty years to practise his profession. 
The greater part of that time he was the only medical man 
residing in North Colchester. As a professional man he 
in his time, stood high. Though the study of medicine had, 
because of the progress of science, become almost entirely 
different at the close of his practice to what it was at its 
beginning, he was, nevertheless, because of his ability as a stu- 
dent, able to keep well up in the study of the modern methods 
and treatments. He was a man of mild temperament and 
had the heart of a child. After forty years' experience with 
sickness and death, he never seemed to lose his sensitiveness 
to pain and sorrow, and sympathy for the sick prompted 
him on many occasions to continue at work when he himself 
was far from a well man. We believe that we *can say, 
without fear of contradiction, that no man ever hel,a firmer 
grip on the affections of the people of Tatamagouche than 
did "the old doctor". It is no disgrace to him to say he 
died a poor man. Had he received all the remuneration 
which he, in justice to himself, could have demanded, he 
would have died wealthy. His reward was not riches but 
rather to be held in grateful remembrance by those who 
had experienced his skill as a physician, or had felt the 
sympathy of a friend who never failed. 

We have already mentioned the old Nova Scotia Militia, 
and traced its course at Tatamagouche as late as 1825. We 
shall now make a few further remarks upon this subject. 


In 1827, the militia throughout the province appears 
to have been re-organized. The 2nd Battalion, Colchester 
Regiment, was to be composed of men from the northern 
half of the present county of Colchester. In this year the 
following officers were from Tatamagouche and vicinity: 
Capt. Alex. Campbell, 2nd Lieuts. Samuel Waugh and M. H. 
Wilson. Two years later the following additional names 
appear: 1st Lieut. Rufus McNutt, 2nd Lieuts. M. Waugh 
and Charles McCurdy, and Edwin Carritte, Surgeon. In 
1831, Alexander Campbell was promoted to Major and Ed- 
ward Langille made 2nd Lieut. In 1833, there was 
another re-organization and we find that the 3rd Battalion 
of the Cblchester Regiment was made up of men from 
what is now the District of Stirling. We give the officers 
in full: Lt. Col. Alexander Campbell*, Major R. B. Dickson, 
Captains J. McL. Dickson, D. Dewar, D. Baxter, Alex. 
Conkey, Hugh Munroe, George Ross, and D. C. McCurdy; 
1st Lieuts. Edw. Langille, John McKay, M. Waugh, R. 
Murray, and Wm. Scott; 2nd Lieuts. John Langille, James 
Campbell, David Wilson, Donald Ross and D. McKay; 
Adjutant J. McL. Dickson; J. B. Davidson, Quartermaster. 
In 1841, Alex. Conkey was appointed Major and the fol- 
lowing 2nd Lieuts.: John Lombard, Wm. McConnell, John 
Millar, John Lockerbie, Wm. Bryden, Ephrm. Langille, 
Jas. Simpson, Alex McCurdy, John Nelson, John Hewitt, 
Robert Purves, Robt. Byers, Q. M. Jas. Hepburn. 

Although annual drill was compulsory by law, it was 
not always performed. Many years the Assembly deemed 
it unnecessary and it was dispensed with. During the 
"fifties" the militia throughout Nova Scotia was lifeless, and 
it was not until the Fenian troubles of the "sixties" that 
it was revived. After the death of the Hon. Alexander 
Campbell, the 3rd Battalion Colchester Regiment was without 
a Colonel. Finally, in 1863, Alex. Conkey was appointed. 

The period 1842-63 we can pass over as far as the militia 
is concerned as unimportant. But the "sixties" brought 
complications with the United States over the Civil War, 
which was followed by the Fenian Raids. The Government 

*The appointment of Hon. Alex. Campbell was opposed by Wm. Waugh (son of old 
Wellwood Waugh) who claimed that as he (Waugh) had been Captain in the Militia since 
1808 that he was entitled to the rank of Lt. Col. His claims, though presented in the form 
of a petition, were overlooked. 


of Nova Scotia hastened to prepare the Province as best 
it could for the threatening dangers. The ihilitia was 
re-organized and new officers appointed. In 1864, the militia 
in this County was increased to six battalions, the sixth 
being made up of men from the present electoral districts 
of Tatamagouche East and West, New Annan, Waugh's 
River, and Brule. The officers of this battalion in 1864 
were as follows: Lt. Col. John Millar; Majors D. A. Camp- 
bell and R. A. Logan; Captains Arch. Campbell, Benj. Blair, 
Edw. Kent, Abram H. Patterson, Henderson Gass, Wm. 
Logan; 1st Lieuts. W. A. McDonald, Geo. Waugh, John 
Urquhart, Wm. Patterson and Marmaduke Fraser; 2nd 
Lieuts. Washington Irving; Surgeon E. D. Roach. The 
following became officers in the next year: Captains Alex. 
Williamson and David Nelson; 1st Lieuts. Robert Purves, 
E. L. Cutten, Wellwood Currie, Wm. Irvine, Isaac Blair 
and James Bryden; ^2nd Lieuts. John Wilson, Isaac Reid 
Wm. McCully, Jas. Nelson and Jas. Kennedy; Adjutant 
B. Blair; Quartermaster Arch. Patterson. In 1869, the 
last year the militia had drill, the following new officers 
appear: Capt. W. A. Patterson; 1st Lieut. A. H. Patterson; 
2nd Lieuts. Rod. Barclay, Jos. Sled, J. T. B. Henderson, 
Jas. T. Johnson, J. D. Mclntosh, Hugh Harris, Geo. Nelson, 
and Jas. Porteous. 

During these years annual drill of five days was performed. 
On the first four, each company was drilled by itself. The 
last day was taken up with battalion drill.* On that day, 
which was not without high excitement, all the companies 
met in the village. 

By the terms of Confederation in 1867, the control of 
the militia passed to the Federal Government. As Fenian 
Raids were over the Government decided to do away with 
compulsory drill, giving, however, to all units the right to 
drill if they desired. For two years the men of Tatama- 
gouche continued to drill, and then they voluntarily disbanded. 

It may be noted that in the spring of 1866, when the 
Fenian scare was at its height, the militia men of this com- 
munity, in accordance with the Proclamation issued by the 
then Lieut. Governor, were under orders to prepare them- 
selves to meet any emergency. Men were drafted from the 

*The drill was usually held in the field back of David Campbell's house. For excitement 
it rivalled the day of a launch, and as a rule ended with a fight in the evening. 


various companies, and did a special drill. As all the mem- 
bers were, technically speaking at least, on active service, 
they became eligible for the Fenian Raid bounty granted a 
few years ago by the Dominion Government. 

At the same time as the revival of the militia, there was 
inaugurated throughout the Province a volunteer movement. 
By this scheme a number of men sufficient to form a company, 
volunteered to perform a certain number of days' drill annually 
for three years. In 1860-61, several units were organized 
throughout the Province, but it was not till '62 that the 
"Stirling Rifles" was organized at Tatamagouche. The 
officers were as follows: Captain David Campbell; 1st Lieut. 
Wm. Blackwood; 2nd Lieuts. W. A. McDonald and Arch. 
Campbell; Surgeon E. D. Roach. At the expiration of 
their time of service in 1866, a grand ball was given in the 
Town Hall by the officers and men. It was the social event 
of the times and was attended by all the flower and beauty 
of the community. The officers, for the last time, appeared 
in their unfiorms. 

In this democratic country there is, as a rule, a general 
aversion to anything in the nature of compulsion, particu- 
larly in regard to military service or drill. That was, in 
all probability one of the reasons why the Government 
determined to make the militia throughout Canada purely 
voluntary. But still, we cannot but have regret that the 
old Nova Scotia Militia, which had reached so high a degree 
of proficiency was not continued throughout the Province. 
Aside from the fact that it was compulsory there were no 
odious features connected with it. The men enjoyed the 
drill, where for a few days they could turn aside from the usual 
day's routine and mingle with and become better acquainted 
with their fellow men. Its physical effects were good; men 
stood straighter and walked with better carriage. From a 
military standpoint it, too, accomplished its purposes. By 
it each man in the community became acquainted with 
the rudiments of military drill. He learned to handle a 
rifle and to shoot straight. If, at the outbreak of the present 
war, there had been organized throughout Nova Scotia a 
militia as there was in the "sixties," it would have assisted 
greatly in the raising of volunteers and in the training of 


the recruits. A good start would have been made long before 
the outbreak of hostilities. 

No sketch, however short, of the shipbuilding days at 
Tatamagouche, is complete without a reference to the 
loss of the "Isabella", a small vessel of 50 tons, built 
in the fall of 1868 by John Millar, of the Mountain. It 
was early December before the vessel was completed and 
loaded with a cargo of lumber for South America. There 
are many yet alive who can well recollect her as on that 
December day she gaily sailed out of the harbour, and was 
soon lost to view on what was to prove her first and only 
voyage. From the day she sailed through the Gut of Canso, 
nothing has ever been heard of either her or her crew. Heavy 
storms visited the country shortly after she set sail, and 
it was generally believed that she was lost off the Cape 
Breton coast. There were rumours which were probably 
not without foundation, that wreckage of a vessel answering 
to her description had been found along that coast. On 
board the vessel, besides John Millar, the owner, were Tom 
Millar, his son; John Mclntosh, of Waugh's River; and 
Alex. Drysdale, of the Mountain; John Toker, Jr., captain; 
Hector McLean, who was mate; and Ephraim Matatall. 

Another wreck was that of a brigantine* which was 
built by Robert Logan in or about 1863. On her first voyage 
she was loaded with merchandise for Newfoundland, and 
set sail from Tatamagouche about th'e last of October. On 
the night subsequent to sailing, the mate, who was unfamiliar 
with the Northumberland coast, was directing the course 
of the vessel and, in some way, either missed or mistook 
Pictou Island light. About 4 a. m. he was surprised that 
he was unable to see Cape George light and becoming 
alarmed he had all the crew called on deck. They immediate- 
ly "hove-to" and while each was endeavouring to catch 
a glimpse of a light, they were surprised to see a high 
and rocky shore loom up almost alongside the ship. 
They had oversailed their course and were almost ashore 
at Broad Cove, Inverness. Frantic efforts were made to 
put the vessel seaward, but the heavy wind and sea made 
their endeavours of no avail. As soon as it was found that noth- 
ing could prevent the ship from striking, the crew lashed them- 
selves to the yards and, after the vessel had struck, they 

*Mary Jane (?) . 


remained there till the storm in a great measure had abated. 
In an endeavour to reach shore in a boat which was upturned 
the mate was drowned. He was a remarkably strong man, 
and it is said that he clung for twenty minutes to a rope 
before he was finally carried away by the high-running sea. 
Samuel Weatherbie of the village was a seaman on board 
at the time. James Tattrie, Lake Road, and the late Simon 
Millard were with the ship as was also the owner, Robert 

But the wreck which aroused the greatest interest 
at Tatamagouche, and indeed no small amount of interest 
throughout all shipping circles, was the loss on the Goodwin 
Sands of the "Indian Chief" in the winter of 1880. She 
was not a Tatamagouche vessel, but was built and owned 
at Yarmouth. Marmaduke Fraser, son of William Eraser, 
was captain of this vessel at the time she was lost, 
and with him as second mate was his brother, Howard 
Primrose, and it was the loss of these two young men which 
has made the story of the wreck of the "Indian Chief" a 
familiar one in every Tatamagouche home. 

The "Indian Chief" a ship of 1238 tons register, sailed 
from London on a Sunday afternoon bound with a general 
cargo for Yokohama. For the first few days thick weather 
was encountered but all went well. Early on Wednesday 
morning, there arose a sudden squall accompanied with rain, 
and in the confusion which followed, the ship struck the 
sands. She was made of soft wood and it was feared that 
she would at once go to pieces. Fires were kindled and rockets 
were sent up. "But all the while the wind was graduallly 
sweeping up into a gale and oh! the cold, good Lord, the 
bitter cold of that wind!*" At daybreak a lifeboat was 
sighted, but it was soon forced to give up the attempt to 
reach the stranded vessel. Through the day the ship slowly 
went to pieces and believing that it was only a matter of 
time till she would break up, the Captain ordered three 
boats to be launched. They were immediately engulfed and the 
sailors drowned. Finally all climbed to the top of the masts as 
a last place of refuge. There they stayed till daybreak, 
when a life boat rescued those who were still alive. Captain 
Fraser had died from exposure and cold several hours before 

*Quotation from account written by W. Clark Russell in English newspaper. 


the rescue but Howard, his brother, was still living. He 
was taken on board the lifeboat where he died half an hour 
later. He was the hero of the wreck. During the long 
hours on the masts he sheltered his brother as best he could 
and continually strove to keep up the courage and hope of 
all those who were aboard.- The first mate, who was rescued 
speaking of him said: "Near him (the captain) wa his 
brother, a stout-built, handsome young fellow, twenty-two 
years old, as fine a specimen of the English sailor as ever I 
was shipmate with. -He was calling about him cheerfully, 
bidding us not be down-hearted and telling us to look sharply 
around us for the lifeboats. He helped several of the be- 
numbed men to lash themselves saying encouraging things 
to them as he made them fast."* Marmaduke and Howard 
Fraser surely were two men who in the sternest test the 
sea could give, lived up to the best traditions of the British 

In December, 1867, an American schooner of 100 tons 
was burned in the channel of the river near Steele's island. 
She had been loaded with copper ore at Patterson's wharf, 
and grounded in the channel near the island, and 
before she could be floated the river was frozen across. 
One night, not long afterwards, she was burned to 
the water's edge. The first intimation which the people 
of the village had of the fire was when they awoke the next 
morning and saw on the island several tents which the 
crew, using the sails, had made to protect themselves from 
the cold of the night. No satisfactory explanation of the 
origin of the fire was ever given, and it was generally believed 
that the crew, in order to escape spending the winter in 
the vessel, had deliberately set her on fire. For some years 
after, some of her timbers could still be seen at low tide. 
These, however, were removed at the time of the dredging 
operations. Only a few years ago some of the copper, which 
had been half-smelted by the fire, was recovered from the 
bottom of the channel by the Stirling Mining Company which 
had taken over the interests of the old company. Two bells, 
which were afterwards purchased by the school sections of 
Barrachois and Tatamagouche were saved from the wreck. 
The Tatamagouche one continued to be used till the time 
of the building of the new school house. 

*A notation from account written by W. Clark Ruasel in English newspaper. 



By 1870, shipbuilding had lost its place as the leading 
industry of the community, and at the end of another ten 
years it could no longer be called an industry at all. 
Some of the last ships built by D. and Arch. Camp- 
bell were the largest to be launched at Tatamagouche. 
The "Jumna", "Edith Carmichael", and "Minnie Car- 
michael" were vessels of some 800 to 1000 tons. They 
were built in Campbells' yards and were so large that their 
bowsprits extended over the highway that runs near the 
yards. The building of these ships, practically brought 
to an .end the shipbuilding industry at Tatamagouche. 
Subsequently small coasting vessels were built. In 1900 and 
1904, Capt. Alex. Weatherbie built the "McClure"* and the 
" Unity", three masted schooners of about 200 tons each. 

The decline of this industry at Tatamagouche was due, 
of course, to the loss of the market for wooden sailing vessels, 
their place in the work of ocean transportation being gradu- 
ally taken by iron and steam craft. The rather premature 
close of this industry at Tatamagouche may have been 
accelerated by various local conditions, but its final close 
was inevitable. At River John, for instance, they continued 
to build ships for another ten years, though a good portion 
of the ship timber was obtained in the vicinity of this place. 
Still, it was only ten years till shipbuilding at River John met 
the same fate. 

We may, however, before concluding this chapter, add 
a few other general observations upon the shipbuilding 
i ndustry as carried on at Tatamagouche. 

The vessels constructed varied in size from the small 
"Jane Ann" of 7 tons to the "Jumna" of 1000 tons. They 
were used, according to their size and build, for coasting, 
intercolonial and foreign trade. A number were built for 
fishing purposes, the "Newfoundlanders", for instance. 
The majority were built for sale in the open market but many, 
notably the larger ones, were built under contract for persons 
in the Old Country or elsewhere. The foremen, as a rule, 
did the designing, though when building under contract, 
the specifications and drafts were generally sent out by the 
buyers. The five classes of vessels so common in those 
days schooner, brigantine, brig, barque, and full-rigged- 

*Torpedoed in the Mediterranean, June. 1917. 


ship were all built at Tatamagouche. The ship market 
during those years was so fluctuating and uncertain that the 
greatest variance is to be found in the sums realised for like 
ships at different periods. There was no gradual and well 
ordered fall and rise in the prices, but, as we have seen, with 
scarcely any apparent reason or warning, the bottom fell 
out of the ship market and vessels frequently sold 
for amounts that did not cover their expenses across 
the Atlantic. More than one Nova Scotian shipbuilder 
has been ruined because of expenses which have accumulated 
around a vessel lying unsold in Liverpool, or other foreign 
ports. It may, however, be interesting to note the actual 
values which were placed upon a few of the many vessels 
constructed here. In 1834, Wm. Campbell built a schooner 
"Thomas Mahoney" of 94 tons. She was contracted for 
persons in England and was to be built for the most part 
of black birch and to be fully rigged. For this ship Camp- 
bell received 475 or roughly, $2,000. The Customs returns 
for 1863 placed the value of the "Staffa", a barque of 309 
tons at $12,300; of the "Gertrude" brigantine of 133 tons, 
at $5,300; and of the "Glen Tilt", barque of 323 tons, at 
$13,000. In 1865, the "Lillie M.', a barque of 349 tons, 
was valued at $14,960. These, being Customs returns, 
do not exactly represent what the owners received, but 
they fairly well indicate the value of ships built at that time. 
Considering the large number of ships which were built 
here, it is rather surprising how few shares in them were 
ever retained by Tatamagouche people. There were, of 
course, exceptions, but, as a rule, the builders seemed 
desirous of selling their vessels outright; and it was 
rarely that they retained any substantial interest. Another 
peculiar fact is that, while Tatamagouche was a leading 
shipbuilding port, it cannot be said to have been the home 
of many sailors. Some of her sons, it is true, have followed 
the sea, but, considering the large number of ships were were 
constructed and for the first time manned here, the number 
is surprisingly few. Indeed, it seems that when a vessel 
was launched and sold that as far as the people of Tata- 
magouche were concerned was the end of her. 

Although this industry conferred few, if indeed any, 
permanent benefits upon this place and community, 


still for fifty years it made Tatamagouche a busy 
hive of industry. From sunrise to dusk the shores from 
Campbell's to Lockerbie's heard the music of the singing 
saws and the continual din of hammer, axe and adze. In 
the evenings the small village presented a busy scene, men 
in groups gathered in the stores, or along the streets, mingling 
with sailors from the ships, or farmers from the surrounding 
districts. Rum, which was sold as a staple article by all 
the local merchants, was plentiful as water and tended in a 
great degree to make the evenings merrier and the nights 
more hideous. 

But those days are gone, never, save in story, to return. 
And after all, who would call them back? Theirs was a false 
and transient prosperity, which before it was born was 
doomed by science to an early death. Shipbuilding, with 
all its charms and alluring possibilities, never can, as an 
industry, have the same solid and dependable value to a com- 
munity as has agriculture. For, while the one produces 
only that commerce may be expedited, the other brings 
forth from the earth those products which are indispensable 
to life itself. If all else should fail, agriculture must and 
will go on. 



''PHE first service conducted at Tatamagouche by a Min- 
ister of the Gospel was in the year 1775. It was then 
that this community was spiritually uplifted by a visit of 
the Rev. James Bennet,* an itinerant missionary of the Church 
of England. On the occasion of his visit he administered 
the Lord's Supper to twenty-eight communicants. This 
was only three years after the arrival of the first permanent 
settlers so that this number would include about all the 
adult persons then living in the community. Fifteen years 
afterwards, Mr. Bennet again visited Tatamagouche. Re- 
turning to Pictou, he lost his way and was forced to spend 
the night in the woods. 

The first settlers, as we have already seen, were intensely 
religious and, though they did not have a regular minister 
stationed in their midst, they nevertheless held meetings of 
their own, and thus kept alive the strong religious principles 
for which they were known. In 1793, the coming of the New 
Lights among the people at Tatamagouche and River John 
caused such serious unrest, that John Langille and George 
Patriquin of the latter place sent for Dr. MacGregor of Pictou, 
who immediately answered their call. After his visit to 
River John, he proceeded to Tatamagouche. At the time, 
there were only fourteen families in the settlement, three 
Scotch and the others Swiss. All were Protestants, the Scotch 
of course, being Presbyterian, and the Swiss Lutheran, though 
they nearly all, if not all, became members of the Presby- 
terian Church. Dr. MacGregor found that the little settle- 
ment had in no wise neglected the spiritual side of life. In 
their weekly prayer meetings a Mr. Kelley took an active 

"Kelley was an intelligent, able and industrious man to whom they all 
became much attached, and through whom they obtained instruction in the 
elementary branches of education. This Mr. Kelley, however, set out for 
Truro, but never returned. Afterwards his body was found near a pond where 
he had perished from cold and hunger, after having erected a slight shelter 
and made a fire. His loss proved a great injury to the moral and religious 
improvement of the people. "f 

*Mr. Bennet resided at Fort Edward (Windsor). 
tMemoirs of Dr. MacGregor, page 263. 



While at Tatamagouche, people from far and near, some 
even from Wallace, came to converse with Dr. MacGregor 
at the house of Wellwood Waugh, where he lodged during 
his short stay. The weather was stormy, which prevented 
him from doing much travelling. On Sunday he preached 
at the house of James Bigney which, as we have seen, stood 
near the east bank of the French River. So many gathered 
that the small house could not contain them and "when par- 
ents held up children to be baptized they had go into the 
open air to find standing room."* 

A few years later Dr. MacGregor again visited Tata- 
magouche, River John, and Wallace. This time he came 
around by the shore from Pictou to River John and then 
through the woods to Tatamagouche. In the following years 
he paid several other visits to this place while on his way 
to Wallace where a number of Scottish families had settled. 

The first minister to hold regular services at Tatama- 
gouche was the Rev. John Mitchell, who was born in the spring 
of 1765 at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, where his father 
carried on the business of a flour merchant. He left school 
after receiving the ordinary common school education, and 
began to learn the rope-making trade. Spending his spare 
hours in either idleness or wickedness, his life at first was 
anything but a Christian one. On a Sunday, while out 
rowing, he was saved from drowning by what he believed to 
be the intervention of Divine Power. After this he became 
a regular attendant at church services, but at the same time 
he did not entirely forsake his evil ways. One day, when 
on the race track, to which he frequently resorted, he seemed 
to come to a fuller realisation of his sins, and then and there 
determined to give his life to the ministry. 

"The next day", to use his own words, "when others were going to 
see the races, I went out to the fields to pray, read and meditate. The Bible 
became precious to me, prayer my delight, and divine C3nte.nplation exceeding- 
ly sweet to my soul." 

He decided to become a minister and in the long way which 
led to his entry into that profession, he never faltered. 

Preaching in the day time, his spare hours were no longer 
given to idleness but rather to study, so that by 1795 he had 
obtained sufficient education to enter Horton Academy. 

*Memoirs of Dr. MacGregor, page 263. 


When he completed his course at that institution, he was sent 
by the London Missionary Society to America. Leaving 
London on March 17th, 1800, he arrived at Quebec ten weeks 
later. He first received a call from Montreal, but preferred 
to go to New Carlisle, which was a poor, struggling congre- 
gation, for, to use his own words, "The cries of the poor on 
the Bay are more pressing than the cry of the rich in 

In 1803, Mitchell made a tour of the coast from Bay of 
Chaleur to Canso. On May 5th he preached at River John 
and then proceeded to Tatamagouche, Wallace and other 
places. In the same year to the great regret of the people 
of New Carlisle, he left them to take up his work at Amherst. 
When, in 1808, that congregation had so increased in wealth 
and number that it was well able to support a minister of 
its own, he bade it farewell to take up the more arduous 
duties of attending to the spiritual needs of River John and 
Tatamagouche. He resided at the former place and removed 
his family there in the following year. He held regular 
monthly services at Tatamagouche; in the winter they would 
meet in the larger houses and during the summer in the 
new frame barn of Wellwood Waugh. 

Waugh was his right-hand man at Tatamagouche; 
besides being a regular attendant, he aided his minister 
financially as well. The difficulty of providing funds to pay the 
minister his promised salary is not confined to the present 
day. Frequently in addition to paying his full share, Waugh 
advanced money for the congregation. On his books 
you frequently find this entry: "To sum lente for paying 
the minister." The little congregation suffered greatly 
because of the need of a regular place of worship. The houses 
were all too small as well as inconvenient, and lacked 
the inspiration which a regular place of worship will in 
time possess. At various times, encouraged by their minister, 
the people endeavoured to erect a meeting house, 
but without success. Differences that could not, or would 
not be reconciled, arose, and the project was abandoned. 
At length, in 1820, Waugh, who was now not only advanced 
in age, but also in the material things of this world, under- 
took, with the aid of his sons, to build the church. The 
following is what he himself says about this matter: 


"This settlement being favoured with the preaching of the Gospei, the 
inhabitants thereof concluded, as a duty indispensable and necessary, to pre- 
pare a place of public worship. Meetings were held and plans were arranged 
to carry the same into effect. Their resolution in this was short lived, because 
incoherently dividing in their opinion concerning matters of small importance, 
they soon desisted from their imaginary ideas, which seemed rather to frustrate 
than to propogate the gospel among them. Measures were again adopted 
for the same purpose by a contracted number of individuals but with little 
better success; having erected a frame adjacent to the place where the meeting 
house now stands, dissensions analogous to the former arose, and instead 
of coalescing with and supporting each other, they disunited and irresolutely 
desisted from the work. 

"Having by these polemical controversies which were alloyed with no 
inconsiderable mixture of prejudice and opposition (a character unbecoming 
to professors of Christianity) overturned the whole system of their former 
resolutions, a purpose more circumscribed than the former now takes place, 
the aforementioned Waugh with his sons Thomas, William and Wellwood*, 
independent of others, begins and carries into effect the putting up of a meeting 
house, a delineation of which we have in the following piece of poetry: 

"Altho. in number few we be 
Thy Promise is to two or three, 
We'rt only four here as we stand 
We beg thy counsel and direct 
And also be Thou the architect. 
We'll go to work with heart and hand, 
A house will build at Thy command. 
No sacrifice property we desire to have 
But free-will offering from all friends we crave. 
On the apostle's doctrine and Christ alone 
We lay the foundation and build thereon; 
And from all dangers keep us free, 
From Popery and from prelacy. 
We pray for a blessing by Thy grace 
On him who labours in word and doctrine in this place; 
Let him and us preserved be 
Until this house be dedicated a church to Thee. 
All jarring contests we will putraise, 
And turn them to Thy glorious praise, 
Thy promise is, and cannot fail, 

Against Thy Church the gates of Hell shall not prevail. 
The ten commandments our guides shall be 
But cannot keep one of them perfectly 
The Westminster Confession of Faith shall be our guide, 
And all the doctrines as they do stand 
Covenants as they were sworn to with uplifted hands." 

"It is recommended that the members of the congregation would nominate 
and appoint two or three of their members to be chosen annually for the 
purpose of inspecting and for keeping in repair the meeting house and what- 
ever emolument may accrue from the letting of seats to be appropriated to 
the use of the minister, and that a minute book and register may be kept by 
them. It is a common thing that where a place of common worship is, the 
burying ground also is public, but here it is to be observed that it was deter- 
mined by the proprietors of the meeting house that whoever contributed 
to the aid of the same should have a right to and privilege of occupying a 

*Waugh*3 other son, Alexander, had died previously. 


part of the burying ground, but those who did not, were to be excluded from 
any claim thereto. Therefore let it be known that from henceforth none 
may claim or have a privilege there but their proprietors, thereof, their 
families or those to whom they may grant permission. 

Tatamagouche, August, 1820. 
Contributions etc., Alex McNab, a bell." 

Thus it came to pass that in August, 1820, the 
place of worship which has since been known as the "Willow 
Church" was opened for service. Disregarding the small 
Catholic Chapel, which was built by the French during 
their short stayyit was the first church of any denomination 
to be erected in North Colchester. We are at least safe 
in saying that it was the first church erected by a Protes- 
tant denomination in this community. It was the inten- 
tion of the builders that pews should be placed therein, 
but this plan was never carried out and for many years the 
worshippers were obliged, while their souls received spiritual 
refreshment, to get from the wooden benches what comfort 
they could for their physical bodies. In the interior at one 
end, stood the high pulpit which for years was so character- 
istic of Presbyterian churches. Doubtless it, too, had the 
usual wide swinging doors. Before this commanding pulpit, 
from which old and young, through the succeeding years, 
eagerly heard the Divine message, sat the precentors, 
who in the absence of any musical instrument led the con- 
gregation in singing Psalms of David in the Scottish version 
hymns in those days being debarred. Aaron Crowe, of 
the Mountain, who had been a music master in Halifax, was 
one of the precentors. Who can ever think of this old 
church and not imagine that he hears them singing still, 
the blending of the voices of men and women and even of 
little children as they poured forth into such verses as these: 

"The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want, 
He makes me down to lie 
In pastures green: he leadeth me, 
The quiet waters by." 

or again: 

"I to the hills will lift mine eyes 
From whence doth come mine aid"? 

Gone are all the singers, but the words they sang live immortal. 

This old Willow Church was built a little to the east of 

the present one, which was erected some time in the "fifties." 51 

*At the time of the resignation of the Rev . Robert Blackwood from the Tatama- 
gouche Presbyterian congregation, the Willow Church portion of the congregation supported 
him and it was then that the present church was built. 



In the August gale the church suffered serious loss, its roof 
being carried away by the hurricane. 

In the "Presbyterian Witness" of August 27th, 1859, 
we find the following comment upon the erection of the new 

"The Willow Church (the old church is referred to) is gone, and so are 
the congregation that sat in it, the minister who preached in it, and the very 
willows that so beautifully surrounded and overshadowed it. Why, oh why 
was the woodsman's axe permitted to fell those venerable and charming trees? 
Surely this was an act of vandalism. The stumps are here among the graves 
but the willows that were wont at morn and even to weep over the dead 
are gone. The only consolation is that an elegant new church has succeeded 
the old one, and that the Gospel is still preached here faithfully to an increasing 

The writer of the above quotation had great veneration 
for the old church which, he says, was "fragrant with the 
memory of good old Wellwood Waugh and all the fathers 
of the hamlet." He is perhaps a little severe in his attack 
upon those who destroyed the willows. There were, in all 
probability, practical reasons for such an "act of vandalism". 

About 1822, Mr. Mitchell began monthly services in 
New Annan. We have already seen that that community was 
first settled in 1815 by John Bell who, in 1822, was joined by 
Wm. Byers, Thomas Swan, James McGeorge and Wm. 
Scott. These men, though few in number were accus- 
tomed to hold weekly prayer meetings either in their 
own houses or in the school house. The old people of 
New Annan often used to tell how on a Sabbath that their 
Pastor was not to preach there, they would skate on the 
ice to Tatamagouche and even to River John, attend two 
services and return home the same day. Owing to the increase 
of settlers these communities had so grown in wealth and 
numbers that by 1826 Tatamagouche and New Annan felt 
strong enough to themselves support a minister and in that 
year they extended a call to Rev. Hugh Ross. Mr. Mitchell 
continued to labour in River John till death claimed him 
in 1841. 

"Mr. Mitchell was above the ordinary size, well formed, and sinewy; of 
a fair complexion and cheerful countenance. Although he made no pre- 
tensions to extent of learning, lie was acute and possessed of a respectable 
share of general information. He was a good man, and his memory is much 
and justly revered." 

As we have already noted in an earlier chapter, Mr. 
Ross was a native of Invernesshire, and in 1813 came with 


his father to Nova Scotia, where he remained for a number 
of years in the mercantile business in Halifax. He then 
joined his father who had settled at or near Hopewell in 
Pictou County. In 1820, Divinity Hall was opened in con- 
nection with Pictou Academy. Dr. McCullough was the 
first professor of Theology. Four years later, Mr. Ross, 
with five others, completed the prescribed course and was 
licensed and ordained to preach the Gospel. These six 
men, it may be noted, were the first fruits of this institution 
which was itself the first Presbyterian Theological School 
in Canada. After his ordination, Mr. Ross laboured as 
an evangelist in Cape Breton until in 1826 he received and 
accepted a call to the congregation of Tatamagouche and 
New Annan. 

There is no roll in existence of those who were elders 
and communicants at the time of the induction of Mr. 
Ross, but they included nearly all, if not all, of the 
adult members of the community for all, irrespective of 
their former religious beliefs, attached themselves to the 
Presbyterian Church. In the handwriting of Mr. Ross, 
still legible, is the roll of those who became members 
during the subsequent years. This will be found in Appendix 
B. We find in 1831, the following elders in this congrega- 
tion: James Munroe, New Annan; Alex. Sherar, Tatama- 
gouche Mountain; James Leaper, New Annan; Duncan Dewar, 
Dewar's River; Edward Langille, John Currie, and John 

When Mr. Ross came to Tatamagouche there was but 
one place of worship, the Willow Church, which, as we have 
seen, was erected in 1820. The need of a house of worship 
in a more central part of his congregation was a real one, and 
Mr. Ross' first endeavours were to meet this need. He was 
successful and a church was erected* in the north-east corne 
of the lot now used as the village cemetery. 

Mr. Ross' duties were, to say the least, most arduous. His 
congregation was scattered and extended from the Head of the 

*Exaot date unknown. 


Bay* to Waugh's River, while in the interior it included all 
the districts of New Annan and Tatamagouche Mountain, 
districts which were being rapidly populated by people who 
expected and desired regular religious services. Mr. Ross, 
too, encountered difficulties which, thanks to sane legislation, 
do not exist today to the same degree as they did then. 
Liquor was openly sold, not in contravention of the laws of 
the land, but rather under their protection. This of itself was a 
great hindrance to the moral and spiritual development of 
the community and added greatly to the many burdens of 
the minister. 

It was Mr. Ross who, in 1830, preached the funeral 
sermon of the late Dr. MacGregor. The manuscript of this 
sermon is still preserved, now in the possession of Peter 
A. MacGregor, New Glasgow, who is a grandson of the 
late Dr. MacGregor. 

"It is written on two sides of a small sheet of paper about four by six 
inches, and in exceedingly small hand, with very close lines, yet clear and dis- 
tinct to good sharp eyes. . . This unique manuscript was given to Mr 
MacGregor by a daughter of the author. Either he must have had exceedingly 
keen eyesight, or else he did not use liis manuscript in the delivery of tiiis 
sermon, "f 

It may be noted that this was the usual way for Mr. Ross 
to prepare his sermons, a number of which are extant. 

In 1840, differences arose between minister and congre- 
gation differences which at length became so serious that 
Mr. Ross considering the interest of all concerned, tendered 
his resignation. He then joined the Synod of the Church 
of Scotland and became pastor of the congregation of George- 
town and Murray Harbour in Prince Edward Island. Sub- 
sequently when he relinquished this charge he rejoined 
the Synod of Nova Scotia. 

Having completed his active ministry, Mr. Ross returned 
to spend the evening of his life at his old home in Tatama- 

*The first church service held at Bay Head was in a little log school house. When the 
congregation grew larger, services were held by Rev. Hugh Ross of Tatamagouche in a barn 
owned by Wm. Dobson. A threshing floor with a table and chair furnished the convenience 
for the parson, hay mows as seats for the people. They did not have money at the time to 
go ahead and build a church; they did so by hard labour. The people united as one family 
from Clark's Point (at that time J. P. Mclntosh's) to McClure's, decided to have a church 
built. They called a meeting formed a committee consisting of Geo. Johnson, James Johnson, 
Wellwood Johnson, Dr. McDonald, W. Dobson, D. Cunningham, Jacob Spinney and several 
others. The meeting resolved that every man should throw off his coat. They then went 
to the forest with axes and adzes, hewed a frame and built a church a union church. The 
same church stands today a union church a united people." An Old Timer, "Colchester 
Sun," Nov. 16, 1916. 

f'Presbyterian Witness." 


gouche, where he was welcomed by those who had been his 
firm friends during the days of his ministry there. He died 
suddenly of heart disease on the 1st day of December, 1858. 
It has been said of him that "he was a man of good talents, 
of kindly disposition, and was a clear and forcible preacher 
of the Gospel both in English and in Gaelic." 

In 1840, a call was extended to the Rev. Robt. Black- 
wood, who was the pastor at Shubenacadie. Mr. Blackwood 
accepted the call and was duly inducted into the charge of 
the congregation. Mr. Blackwood was a native of Kinross, 
Scotland, and left that country with the intention of settling 
in the State of Ohio. When he reached Halifax he was 
persuaded that there was as much need for him in Nova 
Scotia as in Ohio. So he remained, and in October of 1816, 
was settled as pastor of the wide spread congregation of 
Nine Mile River, Gay's River and Shubenacadie. There 
he continued to labor for twenty-four years. 

The call from Tatamagouche to Mr. Blackwood, with 
the original signatures, is still preserved. A copy will be 
found in Appendix C. There are no records to show who 
were the elders and communicants at the time of Mr. Black- 
wood's induction, but eleven years later, in 1851, we find that 
the following were members of the united session of Tata- 
magouche and New Annan: Edward Langille, David William- 
son, John Currie, James Hingley, John Nelson, and George 
Shearer for Tatamagouche, and Robert Byers, Gavin Bell, 
and Irvine Bell for New Annan. 

Mr. Blackwood, before coming to Nova Scotia, had ac^ 
quired some knowledge and experience in the medical pro- 
fession, or perhaps, more correctly speaking, in the admin- 
istering of drugs, and so during the course of his ministry 
he frequently brought bodily as well as spiritual relie/f to the 
sufferer. At times he kept a diary, in which you will find 
such items as these: 

"Jan. 18th, 1841. Mr. , suffering from a severe cold, bled and 

gave a second dose of medicine. 

Jan. 23rd, 1841. Man from Purvis' cook house was bled and received 
two doses of medicine. 

"1st February. Mr. Hugh a sore thumb for a long time." etc. etc. 

As a rule Mr. Blackwood prepared his sermons by writing 
them in full. He wrote a fine, clear hand which the student 


of today will experience little difficulty in reading. He 
kept a collection of all his sermons with the date of delivery, 

Both Mr. Ross and Mr. Black wood received but a 
small remuneration for their services. Scarcely ever was their 
salary paid in full and during the later year of their 
ministries at Tatamagouche their income fell far short of the 
promised amount. Nor was the stipend as a rule paid in cash. 
In the books for both of these reverend gentlemen items such 
as these form the majority: "By cod fish." "By 50 Ibs. 
oat meal." "By two days' ploughing." "By 20 Ibs. butter." 
"By days teaching children." It is not difficult to guess 
that John Currie was credited with the last item. 

In 1852) Mr. Blackwood resigned his charge at Tatama- 
gouche but continued to minister to the New Annan and 
Willow Church portions of the congregation. He then 
removed from his old home, near where Mrs. Crowe now 
lives, to the house now occupied by Charles Brown. He 
died on December 12th, 1857, in the seventy-third year of 
his age and the forty-third of his ministry. We quote 
the following from the "Presbyterian Witness" of the same 

"It is said that he was a man of much mental energy; that his memory 
was remarkably retentive; that he delivered his discourses with a natural 
eloquence which rendered them peculiarly impressive and that he was chari- 
table and liberal in his views, drawing together men of very different sects, 
so that it was not uncommon to see sitting under his ministry Baptists, 
Methodists and Roman Catholics, as well as Presbyterians." 

Of those who sat in the Tatamagouche congregation during 
the ministry of the Rev. Robert Blackwood there are but 
few alive today, but these still remember the eloquence 
and power of this man and are willing witnesses to the veracity 
of the above quotation. 

Mr. Blackwood was succeeded by the Rev. James Byers 
who, on May 31st, 1853, was inducted into the charge of 
the Tatamagouche portion of the congregation, which now 
included the village proper, French River, Brule, and that 
portion of New Annan which had not separated itself from 
the Tatamagouche congregation at the time of the resigna- 
tion of Mr. Blackwood. The Willow Church portion, as 
we have seen, had united with New Annan. 


R. L. Byersj, George H. Oliver and J. Irvine Bell repre- 
sented as elders the New Annan section of the Tatamagouche 

In 1858, after the death of Mr. Blackwood, upon petition 
of Murray Waugh, John Nelson and others, the Willow 
Church section was once more united to Tatamagouche 
congregation to which it is still attached. 

In 1854, during the ministry of Mr. Byers, the present 
village church was erected, though since that time it has 
been enlarged and improved. It was in that year that the 
name "Sharon Church" was first adopted. John Irvine, 
William Fraser, and Archibald Patterson werte the first 
trustees, and the following signed the constitution: John 
Irvine, M. Heughen, D. A. Campbell, John McConnell, 
Robert Logan, John Millar, Robt. Bryden, David Gilmore, 
Hugh McNutt, Wm. Fraser, James Talbot, Edward Kent, 
James McKeen, Chas. Reilly, John Heughen, Stewart Kis- 
lepaugh, David Tattrie, Wellwood Hutchison, Arch. Patter- 
son, John Lombard, Wm. Campbell, Robert McLeod, John 
Dumphy, James Tattrie, Geo. Lombard, Michael Tucker, 
James Marshall, Arch Campbell, James McBurnie, Jas. 
Blair, James Chambers, Geo. Patriquin, Robt. McLeod, 
David Langille, Jas. Weatherbie, John Bonyman, Henderson 
Gass, Mary Campbell, John Gould, Roderick McDonald, 
. P. Mclntosh. Of these, all have passed away, Henderson 
Gass, who died in the winter of 1912, being the last survivin 

To cover a portion of the expense of building the church, 
the pews were ordered to be "sold at auction at an upset 
price to be put thereon". Besides the auction price, the 
holder of the pew was obliged to pay a yearly rent, and in 
cases in which the arrears in rent exceeded the purchase 
price, the trustees were empowered to take possession of 
such pew and dispose of it in any way they saw fit. The 
cost of this building amounted to somewhere around 
580. One contribution in particular should be mentioned. 
Messrs. Millar, Houghton & Co., of Liverpool, England, 
for whom Hon. Alex. Campbell had built a number 
of ships, generously donated a bell which was valued at 
40 sterling. This is the same bell which through the 
succeeding years has done such faithful service, and today, 



although fifty years have elapsed, remains in good condition 
and continues to call the people of Tatamagouche to their 
house of worship. 

In 1859, Mr. Byers resigned his charge at Tatamagouche 
and moved to Clifton, Colchester County, where he con- 
tinued in his work of the ministry. He was a man of the 
finest type, gentlemanly in his ways and Christian in his 
character. While not gifted as a speaker to the same degree 
as his predecessor, he was nevertheless a sound preacher, 
holding the confidence, respect and regard of a community 
which consisted of peoples of different creeds and character. 
It was not the wish of his people that he should leave them; 
only their inability at the time to pay him the proper stipend 
obliged him to sever his connection with the congregation. 

"Mr. Byers was a graduate of our West River Seminary and also a student 
at Princeton. His first pastorate was at Shelburne, where he laboured seven 
years, travelling over a widely extended field. The people to whom he min- 
istered were deeply attached to him and when leaving they said of him that 
for compactness of composition and graceful beauties of style, he had no 
superior in the church. He died 21st May, 1877."* 

Shortly after the resignation of Mr. Byers, a call was 
extended to the then Thomas Sedgwick, licentiate, who was 
born in Aberdeen, Scotland. His father was Dr. Robert 
Sedgwick, minister at Musquodoboit. After coming to Nova 
Scotia, he completed his theological course at the West 
River Seminary and on September 19th, 1860, was ordained 
and inducted into the charge of the Presbyterian congre- 
gation at Tatamagouche, a charge which he faithfully per- 
formed for forty-nine years till on October 31st, 1909, he 
preached his farewell sermon and brought to a close his active 
connection with the congregation. 

At the time of the induction of Dr. Sedgwick, that 
portion of the New Annan district which had remained with 
the Tatamagouche congregation at the time of the resignation 
of Mr. Blackwood, decided to unite with the New Annan 
congregation, and from that time the separation of Tata- 
magouche and New Annan as a congregation has been 
complete. This still left a large field for Dr. Sedgwick. 
Besides the two services which he regularly conducted each 
Sunday in the village church, he, as a rule, held a service 

*Kxtractfrom Article on Tatamagouche Congregation by Rev. A. B. Dickie, in "Presby- 
terian Witness", Aug. 1913. 


at one of the following places: Willow Church, Waugh's 
River, Tatamagouche Mountain, The Falls, and latterly 
at Balfron. Besides attending to these services and the 
various other duties of a pastor of so large a congregation, 
Dr. Sedgwick took an active part in attending to the interests 
of the Presbyterian Church as a whole. He was Moderator 
of Synod in 1885 and in 1893 was moderator of the General 
Assembly and has been clerk of Synod since 1886. 

That Dr. Sedgwick was most successful in the discharge 
of his duties goes without saying. His difficulties were not 
always light ones. The community saw many dark and 
changing days but through them all the congregation increased 
in membership and in financial strength. At the beginning 
of his ministry only one hundred and twenty-five names 
were on the church roll; at the close the membership had 
increased to three hundred and sixty-eight, notwithstanding 
the fact that in the meanwhile the community had not 
increased in population. Various causes may have con- 
tributed to bring this about, but no small share of the credit 
must go to the man who, during that time, had in the con- 
gregation the chief post of responsibility. 

In addition to his professional duties, Dr. Sedgwick took 
a prominent and leading place in any work for the welfare 
of the community. For a number of years he was a school 
commissioner and even after resigning that position, his 
interest in the school children never failed. During the 
course of his regular visits to the schools, he always sought 
to impress upon the children a better and broader sense 
of patriotism. 

In no part of this small work has the writer felt so keenly 
his inability to do full justice to his subject as he does when 
dealing with the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Sedgwick If 
it were to be told in full it might well fill the entire pages of 
this small volume. Only one who has lived and sat in the 
congregation for the last fifty years could do justice to such 
a theme, and unfortunately there is scarcely such a person 
alive today. 

We believe that, with one or two exceptions, it is the 
longest ministry in the history of the Presbyterian Church 
in Canada. At its close it was a different congregation save 
in name to the one to which he had ministered forty-nine 


years before. Not one who was present at the induction 
service of 1860 was present when, on October 31st, 1909, 
Dr. Sedgwick delivered his farewell sermon. Of the one 
hundred and twenty-five members of the congregation at 
the commencement of his ministry only seventeen were 
still alive. They were as follows: Mrs. James Semple, 
Miss Isabella Ross*, Mrs. James McKeen*, Mrs. Robert 
Bryden*, Miss Margaret Bentley*, Mrs. William Blackwood*, 
Mrs. David Fraser*, Mrs. David Williamson*, Mrs. William 
Donaldson, Mrs. George Reid, Mrs. Archibald Patterson, 
Mrs. J. S. McLean*, Mrs. John Millar*, Mrs. Edward Kent, 
Mrs. Sutherland, Mrs. McLearn*, and Miss Mary Hutchin- 
son, and of these the last seven had ceased to have active 
connection with the congregation. It is to be noted that 
there was not a surviving male member either at Tata- 
magouche or elsewhere. 

At the time of Dr. Sedgwick's induction, there were 
only three elders: John Currie, John Nelson, and James 
Hingley. In the autumn of 1860, Archibald Patterson, 
William Fraser, James Langille and John Clark were elected 
as elders. We may note the following who subsequently 
were elected elders: Wm. Blackwood, Arch. Mingo, Archibald 
Campbell, Wm. Donaldson, John Ross, David Donaldson, 
David Malcolm, Alex. Sutherland, Frederick Meagher, Daniel 
Urquhart, David Chambers, John Chambers, Wm. Kennedy, 
Amos McLellan, Alex. Millar, John J. Clark, Daniel McKay, 
and E. C. McLellan. This, however, may not be an exhaust- 
ive liet: 

Sunday and Monday, the 2nd and 3rd October, 1910* 
were days that long will be remembered at Tatamagouche, for 
on these days were held the Jubilee services which celebrated 
Dr. Sedgwick's connection of fifty years with this congregation. 
On Sunday, special services conducted by Rev. Dr. Forrest, 
Rev. Clarence McKinnon, and Rev. George Millar were 
held and on Monday evening there was the concluding service. 
Rev. Dr. Forrest occupied the chair. An address from the 
Presbytery of Wallace was read by Rev. Mr. Fitzpatrick 
of New Annan, and one from the congregation by R. D. 
Malcolm. These were accompanied by a gift of $500 
to Dr. Sedgwick, and a gold brooch to Mrs. Sedgwick. 

*Sinc deceased. 


The Address of the Committee appointed to represent the 
Maritime Provinces was read by Dr. John McMillan. 

"It referred to the high esteem in which Dr. Sedgwick was held by his 
brother clergymen, to his kindness of heart, gentleness of manner, and un- 
wavering faith in the old Gospel; to his strong sense of honour and duty, 
ability as a preacher, and earnest and untiring devotion to the interests of 
the church and its work." 

This address was accompanied by a further gift of $300.00 
from his friends in the Synod. 

"Dr. Sedgwick made a dignified, humble and touching reply, expressing 
his heartfelt appreciation of the kind words and gifts of his friends. One 
thing in the address expressed the exact truth the most kindly and generous 
appreciation in word and gift of the character and work of his dear wife."* 

Other addresses were by W. A. Patterson, who welcomed the 
visiting friends, Hon. B. F. Pearson, Judge Patterson, W. D. 
Hill and others. 

Though no longer actively connected with the congre- 
gation, Dr. Sedgwick is still residing in Tatamagouche and 
continues to give his congregation of the past that advice and 
those words of wisdom which can only come from one whose 
sound judgment has been coupled with years of experience. 
The least we can say of him is that now, even perhaps in 
a greater degree than ever, he holds the respect, admiration 
and affection of those with whom he has been acquainted. 

The people of Tatamagouche, like the people of every 
other small village, have on divers occasions been rent 
asunder by controversies and divisions whi h for a time 
formed breaches which seemed almost ir eparable. But 
among the various religious denominations at Tatama- 
gouche such controversiesis and disputes are happily removed. 
Ever since the day that old Wellwood Waugh unfurled the 
banner of his mother church, the Presbyterians have been 
in overwhelming preponderance, for, as we have already 
seen, they were able as early as 1826 to obtain and have resid- 
ing in their midst a premanent minister. At his church and 
that of his successors all denominations have attended and 
have been welcomed. 

In 1867 the Episcopalians felt themselves strong enough 
to erect a church where they could carry on their own form 

tQuotations are fromareport of the Jubilee Servicesin the "Presbyterian Witnegs," October 
8. 1910. 


of worship. In their endeavour they had nothing but the 
best wishes from their Presbyterian friends. In the erection 
of this church at Tatamagouche, the name of Mrs. Irvine 
stands out most prominently. She it was who, most inde- 
fatigable in her efforts, finally saw partial success crown 
her endeavours.* 

Before this time they had had occasional visits from the 
Rev. Charles Elliot, who became Rector at Pictou in 1834, 
and in whose first parish was embraced the whole of the North 
Shore from Pugwash to Stellarton. In 1865, he retired 
from active work and returned to England, where he died a 
few years later. Rev. Mr. Kaulbach succeeded Mr. Elliot 
as Episcopal Minister at River John, and after the com- 
pletion of the church at Tatamagouche, held regular services 
there. After four years' service, Mr. Kaulbach removed to 
Truro. He was afterwards appointed an Archdeacon. He 
died in March, 1913. 

Rev. J. L. Downing succeeded Mr. Kaulbach and as 
part of his work he continued to hold services at Tata- 
magouche, during the last years in summer months only. 
Unfortunately, the congregation became weaker rather 
than stronger. Death removed many of the older members 
who had been most active in the work of the congregation. 
Many moved away and none came to fill their places. Others 
allied themselves with the Presbyterian Church. William 
Buckler was one of the most active supporters and a most 
faithful attendant. After his death in 1900 no more services 
were held. Mr. Downing continued for thirty-seven years 
as Rector at River John. He died April, 1912. 

In Tatamagouche there were always a small number 
who favoured the doctrines of John Wesley; but it has not 
been more than thirty years -since they have had a place of 
worship of their own. The late Alex Bonyman was one 
of the leading members of this congregation, which 
is a part of the River John circuit. Twice a month 
services are held here by the minister stationed in that 
circuit. The ministers with their year of appointment are 

* "Alter much consultation about ways aud means, it was determined to build a rhurch 
at Tatamaeouche to accommodate 175 worshipi-ers. Through the exertions of friends at 
Charlottetown, Pictou, Halifax, Truro, and i.unenhura:, and the hard work of the people 
in the Mission itself, two successful bazaars were held and the church was beaun in 1866. 
It was finished and ready lor consecration in March, 18P7." " History of St. John's Church," 
Truro, N. 8., by Rev J. A. Kaulbach. 


as follows: 1891, Rev. Wm. Nightingale; 1893, James B. Heal; 
1895, Donald Farquhar; 1899, Charles M. Mack; 1903, 
C. H. C. McLaren; 1905, Hibbert R. Baker; 1909, Dr. G. J. 
Bond; 1911, H. B. Townsend; 1914, Ernest Ploughman. 

For a number of years, Rev. Robert McCunn, of River 
John, held services at Tatamagouche for those who were 
members and adherents of the Established Church of Scot- 
land. No church was ever built, but regular services were 
held in the Town Hall. At the time of the union, the members 
of this church at Tatamagouche wisely decided to join the 
congregation of Dr. Sedgwick, in which they became loyal 
and useful members. Among those who were active in 
support of the Established Church at this place we may 
note: Robert Purves ST., William McKenzie, Alex. 
McLeod, Andrew Urquhart and George Douglas. These, 
all came to Tatamagouche from various places in Pictou 
County. Mr. McCunn, after the union, continued 
to minister to the congregation in River John, which for 
some time did not enter the union. He died in 1895. Mr. 
McCunn was an able preacher. His ability as a 
student was far above the average and his course at college 
was a most distinguished one. It has been said of him: 
"To his own congregation he was loyal; to other people 
ever charitable and ready to be helpful."* 

*S>ee "Kiver John and Its People", by Rev. G. Lawson Gordon. 







TN the preceding chapters have been briefly recorded the 
most important events in Tatamagouche up until 
the decline of the shipbuilding industry. To bring this short 
sketch to a close, nothing remains but to note a few of the 
many changes and events since that time. 

The greatest change is undoubtedly found in the indus- 
trial life of the village and community. Then, shipbuilding 
was the main industry of the place. Farming, of course, 
was carried on but there were only a few who devoted all 
their time and efforts to this industry. The farms, as a 
rule, were neglected and yielded but poor returns to the 
half-hearted efforts of the men who were primarily inter- 
ested in the shipbuilding and lumber industries. The entrance 
of steamers as a real factor in the commercial world soon de- 
stroyed the English market for wooden sailing vessels. About 
the same time the Newfoundland market for fishing vessels 
failed, so that by the "eighties" no ships were built at Tata- 
magouche for foreign markets. A few small ones for local 
coasting were the only product of the shipyards of that date. 
The depletion of this industry had for a while a dis- 
astrous affect upon the place. Men for the first time found 
that they were unable to obtain remunerative employment. 
Numbers at once left to obtain work in the United States and 
elsewhere. Others, mostly those who were older and who 
could not well leave, returned to farming. From this for 
years they were able to make but a poor living. The farms 
had "run out" and while there was as yet no home market 
for farm produce, the American market was closed by a high 
tariff. Prices were low and nearly all the pay for 
produce was taken in goods from the stores of the local 
merchants. Cash prices were the exception rather than 
the rule. Those were the days when, to use the rather verna- 
cular expression, "You couldn't pick up a dollar in every 
cow track." 

The lumber industry had also declined. The first settlers 
in their mad haste to clear and cultivate the land, looked 
upon the forest as their natural enemy and attacked it, as 


has been said, with "fire and sword". Valuable timber 
land was, only too often, by laborious effort converted into 
farms which were to prove valueless for agricultural purposes. 
The lumbermen showed but little better discretion. It never 
seemed to occur to them that the forests, vast as they then 
were, would eventually be exhausted. The result was that 
by the ''nineties" the stock of original timber had become 
scarce, and now practically all that is cut is second growth. 
Of late years the market for timber has so increased, and 
prices have so advanced, that though the quality of the 
timber is inferior to that of thirty or forty years ago, the 
total value of an average year's cut is probably greater. 
During the last few years lumber shipments from Tatama- 
gouche have been abnormally large. 

In the early days all the lumber was sawn by small 
water mills. Later on the stationary steam mill came into 
use. D. and Arch. Campbell, about 1870, had a steam 
mill* erected on the bank of the French River near their 
shipyards. This continued to give employment to a number 
of men until it was finally closed down at the death of Archi- 
bald Campbell in 1891. John Bonyman & Sons are yet 
operating a small saw mill iii connection with their wood- 
working factory. The only other attempt at sawing in 
the village was by Joseph and Arch. Langille, of New Annan, 
who, in 1897, erected and for a year operated a small 
mill on the shore adjacent to Patterson's wharf. David 
Malcolm also ran this mill for a year. Today nearly all 
the lumbering is done by portable steam mills which, in 
winter time can be moved into lots that have a good second 
growth. The Maple Leaf Lumber Company are the largest 
shippers from this place. Wm. Swan & Sons make yearly 
shipments of over a million feet. 

In the old days, the lumber was rafted out of the harbour 
and loaded in barques and other large vessels which were 
unable to come further than the bar. Market was found 
chiefly in the Old Country, but occasional cargoes were sent 
to the West Indies and South America. After the openin ; 
of the railway, lumber was shipped either to Pugwash or 
Pictou, and there loaded upon steamers or vessels bound 
for the Old Country. The only lumber shipped directly 

*Also a grist mill. 





from the wharves was in small vessels which were able to 
sail up the river. This was for the Prince Edward Island 
market. This trade still continues. 

It has been in agriculture that the greatest progress has 
been made. The fertile valleys of the French and Waugh's 
Rivers and the undulated slopes of the harbours of Tata- 
magouche, Brule and Barrachois, now form one of the most 
prosperous farming communities in Nova Scotia. But it 
was not without discouraging days that the farmers reached 
the prosperity of today. The decline of shipbuilding, as 
we have seen, forced men from necessity to return to their 
farms and in the majority of cases it was only after years 
of unprofitable labour that the farms were worked into better 
shape. With the development of the coal mining and the 
various other industries throughout Nova Scotia, particularly 
in Cape Breton, Pictou, and Cumberland Counties, came a 
ready and convenient market for farm produce. The building 
of the railway in the year 1890 was a great boon to the 
farmers, as it was the means of permitting them to market 
their produce whenever and in whatever manner they chose. 
Previous to this time, the merchants or farmers before they 
could make shipments, were obliged to wait until a vessel 
was ready to sail, or until there was enough produce to bear 
the expense of an eighteen mile drive to Wentworth, the 
nearest railway station. Improved methods and the latest 
implements have also been introduced into the farming of 
this community. As long as the good markets keep up, and 
the farmers continue to give their undivided attention to 
this industry, there is every prospect that it will continue 
to be in the future, as in the present, the basic industry 
of this community 

Then there has been a great change both in the business 
men and in the business methods. Such names as Campbell, 
Purvis, Blackwood, Logan, Millar, once so common here 
that it might be said that they were synonymous with the 
name Tatamagouche itself, have all passed away from the 
mercantile life of the village. In fact not one male of these 
names is today residing at Tatamagouche. In the days 
of shipbuilding, the credit system in Tatamagouche, as 
elsewhere throughout Nova Scotia, was carried to the extreme 
limit. The builders themselves often sold their vessels 


on credit. In the meantime their employees obtained goods 
out of the store, which nearly every shipbuilder ran as 
part of his business. Often the men would, so to speak, 
"over-draw their account" and become indebted to their 
employers. Next year, to square the account, they would 
be given employment. In some cases this went on 
from year to year. The result was that the employee 
became discouraged with the prospect of being always 
in debt and failed to put his best endeavours into his 
work. The credit system as it was then carried on was 
unprofitable to both employee and employer. While this 
system has not by any means ceased, it is not carried on 
to such an extent as before. Farmers and merchants now 
receive cash for all their products, while the labourers in the 
lumber woods or elsewhere receive monthly wages, so that 
now cash prices, which were once the exception, are the 

Then in the professional life of this little village there 
has been almost a complete change. Only the venerable Dr. 
Sedgwick, who came here in the autumn of 1860, still remains. 
Since that time he was the only minister permanently 
residing in Tatamagouche until in 1906 when Rev. Wm. 
Forbes came here as one of the pastors of the Presbyterian 
congregation, and four years later, on the retirement of 
Dr. Sedgwick, assumed the full pastoral charge of that con- 

In the medical profession* there have been many changes. 
Dr. E. D. Roach, through failing health, was forced to 
give up his practice in the spring of 1901. Dr. D. M. John- 
son and Dr. J. W. Clark practiced here till their deaths in 
1907 and 1913 respectively. The former was a graduate 
of the Nova Scotia Medical College, and the latter of McGill 
with a post-graduate course at Edinburgh. Dr. E. B. Roach 
practised here from 1901 till 1906, when he removed to 

*Tae first me.iical man to come to Tatamagouche was an Englishman, Dr. _Edward 
Garnie of Truro. He never resided at Tatamagouche, but was ia the habit of making fort- 
nightly visits. He would leave medicines and instructions with Mrs. Campbell, who saw 
that they were properly administered. In 1829, we find his name as surgeon in one of the 
local Militia units. Young Dr. Anderson, of Pictou, after Carrite's time, came to Tatama- 
irouche and lived in the old Williamson house. About 1840, came Charles Creed, M. D., from 
Halifax. He lived first in the house now owned by Mrs. Spinney, but subsequently moved 
across the French River. He removed to Pugwash. Then came a Dr. Henry Kirkwopd of 
Pictou, and Dr. Marshall. The latter, who was a son of Judge Marshall, Sydney, continued 
at Tatamagouche for some time. He lived at Mrs. Irvine s where he died in 1860 at the early 
age of thirty-four. During the "seventies" and "eighties" other medical men made short 
stays. They were Drs. McLean, Baxter, Kent, and Creelman. 


Halifax. Dr. Dan Murray succeeded him, and in 1914 took 
into partnership with him Dr. C. L. Gass, one of our own 
Tatamagouche boys. 

We have only had one member of the legal profession 
at Tatamagouche. J. J. McKay, a graduate of Dalhousie 
Law School, lived and had an office here from 1900 till his 
death in 1911. 

Of the early school teachers we have already noted 
Robert McBurnie and John Currie. The first school house 
in the village was situated in the field of Wm. Campbell near 
McCully's Hill.. John Currie taught here for a number of 
years. Afterwards he had school in his brother's house at 
McCullough's. This school was attended by all the youth 
of the village. His last school was held on week days in 
the Willow Church. When the old schoolhouse on McCully's 
Hill had fulfilled its days of usefulness, a new one was built with 
two rooms. This was the one which, till only a few years 
ago, did service as the public school. As a rule two teachers 
were employed. The site for this building was given by Alex, 
and Wm. Campbell who used this means to prevent it from 
being moved further up the road. It is impossible to give 
a complete list of those who during the succeeding years 
have instructed in this building the youth at Tatamagouche, 
but among those who subsequently have entered one pro- 
fession or another, we may note: the late Alex. McKay, 
who was supervisor of Halifax Schools; Dr. Collie, of River 
John; W. M. Ferguson, barrister, of Truro; Rev. George 
Millar, of Alberton; Rev. Wm. Cunningham; Rev. Wm. 
McKay; Dr. Lawson; W. A. Brittain, Ph. D.; Dr. Dan 
Murray; H. S. Patterson, barrister, of Calgary; H. W. Menzie, 
barrister, of Lethbridge; and Robert S. Campbell, barrister, 
Swift Current, Alberta. The new building was built in 
the summer of 1912, but not without controversies which 
we are happy to pass over. 

Of the many events which have happened at Tatama- 
gouche during these years 1870-1916, the most important and far 
reaching in its consequences, was the opening of the Oxford 
and Pictou Branch of the Intercolonial Railway. This branch 
running through the village, at length gave it railway facili- 
ties. The project was first undertaken in 1883 by a company 
known as the Great European Railway Company. The concern 


was most unfortunate and after no small outlay it was forced 
in July of the same year, to abandon the undertaking. The 
Federal Government, in 1889, took over the scheme with the 
intention of utilising the branch as a short line from Moncton 
to Sydney. Unfortunately, heavy grades and poor construction 
work destroyed the original purpose and the branch is 
now fulfilling only its secondary object of supplying rail 
communication to the people living along its route. It may 
be said, however, that of late years the original project of 
using this branch as a short line to Sydney has been once more 
revived, and we believe was only prevented by the outbreak 
of the present war. The first train to pass over the line was 
in July, 1890. 

Of the many benefits and conveniences accruing to 

Tatamagouche because of rail communication with the 

outside world, we shall say nothing. They are surely self- 

In 1883, the village was visited by a fire which 
destroyed four of the largest shops, which were situated in 
Main Street, just west of the Public Lane. The fire com- 
menced during the night in the shop owned by Jeremiah 
Murphy and then occupied by a man by the name of Asa 
Slack. It quickly spread on the one side to the shops of 
David Fraser, then occupied by J. W. Cassidy, and of John 
Millar, and on the other to the shop belonging to the estate 
of Alex. Matheson. All four shops were totally destroyed. 
The exact cause of the fire was never ascertained, but at the 
time and afterwards there was a suspicion that it was of 
incendiary nature. The shop of Stewart Kislepaugh, which 
was next to Matheson's narrowly escaped. George Clark's 
store was also in danger. John Millar was the only one to 

During a night of May, 1905, the village was visited by 
another fire. Shortly after midnight, fire was observed in 
a shed at the rear of the shop of George Clark. Alarm was 
given, but before any number of the citizens could gather 
it was seen that the shop was doomed. The general store 
of David Nelson was the next to catch, and was soon a prey 
to the flames. In the meanwhile, the fire had spread to the 
shop formerly owned by John Millar and then owned by 
Alex. Fraser. It too was burned to the ground. The office 



of the late Dr. Roach, which was adjacent to Nelson's store, 
was the other building to be destroyed. The night was one 
of almost perfect calm; what little wind there was being off 
the village. Only this prevented greater destruction. The 
origin of this fire has never been ascertained. 

During these changing years, there have been many 
other events of interest and importance which can well 
demand further time and space, but we shall be content to 
add merely a word or more on the Tatamagouche of today. 

Snugly situated on the banks of the river, it is in every 
way a typical Nova Scotian village. It has its dozen stores, 
forges, churches, a school, town hall, hotel and all those 
other buildings which are to be found in a village of like 
population. Its people are prosperous, but not overburdened 
with the riches of this life. As Longfellow said of the village 
of Grand Pre, we may say of the village of Tatamagouche: 
"There the richest was poor, and the poorest lived in abund- 
ance." Real luxury and real poverty are both strangers to 
our people. 

For natural beauty, the village of Tatamagouche 
takes second place to none in Nova Scotia, but when we 
link up to this beauty, the historic associations of the past, 
surely its charms are enhanced many fold. In storm or calm, 
how can we look upon the waters of the harbours and rivers 
and yet close our minds to the memory of the stirring deeds 
which happened upon their bosom, and of the brave men 
who toiled along their shores. /oluntarily, or involuntarily, 
we think of the stealthy Indians who silently drove 
their canoes through the water as they sped on their errand 
of cruelty; of the Acadian farmers who dyked the shores, 
felled the trees, and turned the sod; of the strong men who 
preferred the hardships and the dangers of the wilderness, 
to the bigotry and tyranny of Church and State; and of 
those pioneers from whose lips our hills and shores first 
heard the accents of Scotland, and who fostered here anew 
the traditions and glories of their native land. 

For those who were born and spent their childhood days 
here, Tatamagouche has its double charm. To them every 
turn of the brook, every hill, road and lane, every foot of 
the shore, recalls incidents of the care-free days when, in 
the healthy atmosphere of old Tatamagouche they grew to 


manhood or to womanhood. To them earth can never nearer 
approach heaven, than when in the delightful days of summer 
along its shores, they drink in the soft, saline breezes fresh 
from the broad Gulf of St. Lawrence, or when, wandering on 
the sunny hill slopes they catch the intoxicating odour of the 
clovered fields. 

Of the future the writer will say nothing save to express 
the wish that in the years to come we, as a community, shall 
not in any way prove unworthy of the men and women whose 
quiet heroisms made possible our present life of plenty and 




August 25, 1765. To all whom these presents shall 
come, Grettings. Know ye that I, Montague Wilmont, 
Esquire Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over 
His Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia or Acadie and its 
dependencies, vice Admiral of the same etc. By virtue of 
the power and authority to me given by his present Majesty 
King George the third and under the great seal of Great Britain 
and pursuant to the order of His Majesty in Council Dated the 
llth day of July 1764 have Given, Granted and Confirmed 
unto Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres, Esq., his heirs and 
assigns a Tract of land situate, lying and being beginning 
at the Eastermost Point of a Creek in the river or Har- 
bour John, thence Running South 480 chains on un- 
granted lands, thence west 15 north 480 chains on 
ungranted lands, thence north 12 West, 530 chains on un- 
granted lands to a point on a stream near the head of Tata- 
magouche Bay thence back as the shore runs to the before 
mentioned boundaries, containing in the whole by estimation, 
twenty thousand acres with allowance for roads etc. accord- 
ing to the plan hereto annexed, with all and all manner 
of minerals unopened, excepting mines of gold silver and 
coals* to have and to hold said granted premises with all 
privileges, profits, commodities, and appurtenances there unto 
belonging unto the said Joseph Frederick Wallets DesBarres, 
his heirs, assigns forever yeilding and paying by the said 
grantee his heirs and assigns which by the acceptance hereof 
he binds and obliges himself his heirs, executors and assigns 
to pay to His Majesty George the third his hei 4 rs and suc- 
cessors or to the Commander in Chief of the said province 
for the time being or to any person lawfully authorized to 

*It is to be noted that copper is not reserved to the Crown. This is an unusual provision 
as in nearly all other grants the Crown reserved all copper ores. We do not think that this 
provision in DesBarres's grant was the result of chance. He was evidently aware of the indic- 
ations of copper on Waugh's and French Rivers and saw to it that this unusual provision was 
inserted in the grant. The result of it is seen very plainly during recent years. Land owners 
on the DesBarres grant having acquired the rights of the original grantee have sold their rights 
in copper mines to some of the various companies which at one time or another during the last 
forty years have been working the mines. Owners of land granted by the Crowu under the 
ordinary provisions acquired no rights in the copper and have found that the companies by ob- 
taining a lease from the Crown were at liberty to remove all the copper ore from the premises. 


receive the same for his Majesty's use, a free yearly quit 
rent of one shillingf fathing per acre for one half of the 
granted premises within five years from the date hereof the 
whole to be payable within ten years from the date of the 
grant and so to continue yearly here after forever and the 
said grantee binds and obliges himself, his heirs and assigns 
annually to plant five acres of the said land with hempf 
and to keep a like quantity of acres planted during the suc- 
cessive years and the Grant here by made is upon this further 
condition that if said grantee shall not settle the said grant 
of land with Protestant settlers in the proportion of one 
person for every two hundred acres within ten years from 
the date herein then this grant is to revert to the Crown, 
and the Governor. 



Irving Bell George Stewart 

William Byers, Sen Hugh McDonald 

Mrs. John McKeen Mrs. (Rev.) Hugh Ross 

Donald Mclntosh Mrs. James McConnel 

Mrs. Donald Mclntosh Mrs. John Bell, Sen. 

Mrs. Angus Kennedy Mrs. Newcombe (Wallace) 

Mrs. Dewer, Sen. Mrs. Lyons (Wallace) 

Mrs. Duncan Dewar Mrs. Baxter, Sen. 

Mrs. Alex. Dewar Mrs. John Currie 

Barbara Waugh James McConnel 

Sarah Waugh Mrs. George Langille 

Mrs. Chambers, Sen. John Richards 

Edward Langille Simon Matatall 

Frederick Hyndman Mary Byers 

Mrs. Tom Waugh James Bell 

Mrs. William Cuirie William Bell 

Jeremiah Murphy Mrs. Francais Wilson 

Alexander Dewar Mrs. Alex. Shearer 

David Baxter Mrs. William Waugh 

Gavin Bell Mrs. Samuel Waugh 

Mary Currie John Byers 

George Tattrie Mrs. William Byers, Sen. 

Mrs. George Tattrie Mrs. George McKay 

George Smith George McKay 

Mrs. Wm. Hyndman Enock Stevens 

Mrs. James Munroe Mrs. Wm. McConnel 

John Hingly Mrs. Alex. Campbell, Esq. 

Mrs. Gavin Bell John Biggar 

Mrs. George Stewart Mrs. John Biggar 

tThese provisions were never fulfilled. 



APPENDIX B Continued. 

Helen Waugh 
Mr. Mitchell 

John Johnston 

Mrs. John Johnston 

Miss Drysdale 

Robert Byers 

John McKeen, Jun. 

Robert Bell 

William Waugh, Sen. 

Ann Kennedy 

Mrs. Bonyman 

John McCombie 

Robert Stevens 

Janet Bell 

Mrs. Stewart McConnel 

Mr. Forsyth 

Mrs. John Henderson 

Mrs. John Wilson 
Mrs. David Wilson 
Jane McCombie 
Mary McKay 
Lavinia Drysdale 

Mary McGeorge 
Beaty Swan 
Robert Nelson 
Mrs. Robert Nelson 
Margaret McKeen 
Susana McKeen 
Mrs David Tattrie 

Mrs. Mitchell 
Miss Mitchell 


t Susan Patterson 
' James Munroe 

Edward Langille 

John Bonyman 

John Currie 

Duncan Dewar 

James Leaper 

Alex. Sherar 

James McGeorge 

Mrs. John Oliver 

Mrs. David Baxter 

Christopher Carruthers 

Mrs. Christopher Carruthers 

Sam. Waugh 

Sarah (?) Graham 

Ephraim Mattatall (Lake) 

George Langille 

Mrs. George Langille 

John Langille 


Mrs. Jeremiah Murphy 
Mrs. William Dumphy 
Mrs John Oliver, Sen. 
Edward Bonyman 


Mr. Forsyth, Sen. (Wallace) 
Mr. Sloan [?j (Wallace) 


Tatamagouche, Nov. 4th, 140. 

We whose names are subscribed, Elders and members 
of the united Presbyterian Congregation of Tatamagouche 
and New Annan with others who adhere to the Westminster 
Confession of Faith as received by the Church of Scotland 
and the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia, taking into 
serious consideration our destitute situation through want 
of a fixed Pastor to whom we can with confidence commit 
the orevsight and inspection of our souls being fully apprised 


by good information and out own experience of the piety, 
prudence, literature and other ministerial endowments and 
qualifications of you the Rev. Robert Blackwood at present 
a memberof the Reverend the Presbytery of Truro and the 
suitableness of the gifts bestowed upon you by the Head of 
the Church for our edification. We do hereby invite, entreat 
and Call you to come over to us and to help us by taking the 
charge and oversight of our souls and discharging the various 
duties of the ministerial office among us. And we do hereby 
promise you all due subjection and encouragement in the 
Lord. And we also bind and oblige ourselves to afford you all 
necessary support and subsistence according to you sta- 
tion and rank in society. And we also humbly desire and 
entreat the Rev. Presbytery of Pictou to whom we present 
this our Call to sustain the same and to take the requisite 
steps with all proper expedition in order to the settlement of 
the said Reverend Robert Blackwood among us as soon as- 

John Currie John Langille 

John Bonyman David Langille 

Edward Langille John McKeen 

A. Campbell John Lockerbie 

Samuel Wetherbie William McConnel 

James Campbell George Cooper 

James Hepburn John Ross 

Robert Cooper James Drysdale, Jun. 

Danford Patriquin Eliva 

John Patriquin Jane McDougal 

Ephraim Mattatall Olivia Campbell 

George Waugh Mary Campbell 

Edward Bonyman Margaret Upham 

William Bryden Jane McConnell 

James Bonyman Elizabeth McConnell 

William Lombard Susanna Bryden 

William Campbell Alex. Sherar 

Murray Waugh Matthew Henderson 

James Hingley David Hurley 

Donald Waugh Melvin Grassie 

George Henderson Thomas Slade 

James Drysdale John Johnson 

John Nelson Katherine Johnson 

Levi Mattatall Wellwood Johnson 

George Tattrie John Henderson 

James Chambers Mary Henderson 

James Simpson John Richards 

Charles D. McCurdy William Hayndman 

Eben William Mattatall 

George Patriquin Thomas Henderson 

George Mattatall John Hingley 



APPENDIX CContined. 

Daniel McGregor 
David Hayndman 
Hugh Nelson 
Robert Nelson 
Jeremiah Murphy 
David Hayndman 
David Cameron 
John Hayndman 
Mitchell Murray 
Simon Cameron 
John Megher 


John Hewitt 
George Smith 

David Howard 
Edward Tattrie 
John Tattrie 
Lewis Tattrie 
George Tattrie Jun. 
Alex. Mattatall 
Robert Kerr 
Charles Adams 
Robert Cutten 


John Lombard 
Joseph Reid 
Peter Mattatall 
William Wetherbie 

From New Annan 

Jas. McGeorge 
Christopher Carruthers 
Wm. Aitcheson 
William Scott 
Robt. Bell 
Irving Bell 
George Langille 
Ephraim Tattrie 
Christopher Langille 
John Langille, Jun. 
John Scott 
Mary Scott 
William Byers, Jun. 
Mary McConnell 
William Byers, Sr. 
Josephine Byers 
John Byers 
Robert L. Byers 
Peter Little 
John H. Wetherbie 

E. F. Wetherbie 
Anthony Elliot 
Philip Vincent 
Enock Stevens 
Sarah Stevens 
Thomas Stevens 
Samuel Whidden 
Gavin Bell 


William Carruthers 
Mary Bell 

William Holiday 
John Swan 
James Pugh 
Walter Byers 
Christopher Byers 
James Bell 
Alex. McCurdy 

Names are spelled as they appear in the original Call. Names in blank 
are not leginle. 




1818 TO 1917. 

This list is not claimed to be complete. It is complied 
from the register at Halifax till 1840. In that year Pictou 
was made a port of registry and from then on practically 
all the vessels built at Tatamagouche were registered there. 
Those registered elsewhere will not appear in the following 
list as the register at Pictou was the only one to be searched. 


Mary Schooner. ... 32 Alex McNabb 

Fish Hawke Schooner 16 Jas. Chambers 


Dapper Schooner. ... 22 Thos. Langille 

Nancy Schooner 73 Fred Hayman 

Lilly. Schooner 28 Murray S. Waugh 

Elizabeth Schooner 91 A. Campbell, Mortimer Smith. 


Devron Brig 281 A. Campbell, Mortimer Smith. 

Indian Schooner. ... 34. .. .Isaac Langille 

Mary Brig 133. . * .A. Campbell, Mortimer Smith. 


Margaret Schooner. ... 55. .. .Alex. & Fred. Hayman 

Susan Schooner .... 52 Eph. Matatall 

Elizabeth Schooner .... 29 .... Henry Dwyer 

Martha Brig 271 .... Jas. Campbell 

Mary Elizabeth Schooner. ... 96. .. .Jas. Campbell 


Colchester Barque 418. . . .Jas. Campbell 

Moose Schooner .... 72 .... Robt. Chambers 

Catherine Schooner .... 39 .... Wm. Campbell 

Greyhound Schooner .... 32. .. .Jas. Chambers 


John Millar Barque 119. .. .Alex. Campbell 

Antelope Schooner .... 99 .... Jas. Purvis 





. . Barque .... 

.. 562.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 

Thomas Maloney. . . 

.Schooner. . 

. 96.. 

. . Win. Campbell 


.Schooner. . 

. . 14. . 

. . Peter Millard 




.. 133.. 

. . Wm. Campbell 



. . 145.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. Schooner . . 

. . 24. . 

. . Alex. Campbell 

Sir Colin Campbell. . 


.. 518.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 



. .Ship 

. . 734. . 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. . Barque .... 

.. 449.. 

. Alex. Campbell 

Francis Laws 

.Barque. . . . 

. . 325.. 

. .Alex. Campbell 



. . 260. . 

. . Robt. Chambers 


Jane Archibald 


. . 174. . 

. .Jas. Campbell 



. . 151. . 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. . Brig 

.. 295.. 

. .Wm. Campbell 


. . Barque .... 

. . 369.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 



.. 169.. 

. .Wm. Campbell 

Mary Campbell 


.. 415.. 

. .Alex. Campbell 




.. 176.. 

. .John Miller 


. . Schooner . . 

.. 7.. 

. Isaac Langille 

Brenton Haliburtgn . 


. . 522 .. 

. .Alex. Campbell 



. . 178.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. . Ship 

. . 484. . 

. .Wm. Campbell 



. . 320. . 

. .Robt. Purvis 

Margaret Millar. 

. Barque .... 

. . 500. . 

. . Alex. Campbell 



. . 193.. 

. Alex. Campbell 




.. 197.. 

. .Wm. Fraser 

Jane Ann 

. . Schooner . . 


. .Thos. Langille 


. . Schooner . . 

.. 55.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. . Barque .... 

. . 529.. 

. . Jas. Purvis 


. . Barque .... 

.. 368.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 



.. 219.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. . Barque .... 

. . 573 .. 

. . Wm. Campbell 



. . 237 .. 

. .Wm. Campbell 


. . Barque . . . . 

.. 369.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. . Barque .... 

. . 375.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 

Francis Lawson .... 

. .Ship 

. . 539.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 

Eliza Allan 

. .Brig 

. . 200. . 

. .Robt. Purvis 



. . 204. . 

. . Alex. Campbell 



. . Barque 

.. 573.. 

. . Alex. Campbell 


. . Ship 

. . 733.. 

. . Alex. & Wm. Campbell 


. . Barque 

. . 462 .. 

. .Alex. Campbell 


Barque . . . . 
. .Schooner. . 

. . 546.. 
. . 115.. 

. ,\\ in. Campbell 
. . Alex. Campbell 



. . 260. . 

. .Alex. Campbell 


. .Schooner. . 

.. 111.. 

. Alex. Campbell 


. . Barque 

. . 508 .. 

. . Robt. Purvis 



Wanderer Schooner .... 119 Alex. Campbell 

Fanny Brig 164 Robt. Purvis 

Arab Schooner .... 117 . . Alex. Campbell . . 

Trident Barque 354 Wm. Campbell 

Herione Barque 373 Alex. & Jas. Campbell 


Tartar Schooner. ... 85 Alex. Campbell 

Reliance Barque 478. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Liberty Brigantine. . . 194. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Amity Schooner .... 82 .... Alex. Campbell 

Acope Schooner .... 63 .... Alex. Campbell 


Sisters Schooner .... 43 .... Campbell & Millar 

Triton Schooner .... 94 .... Campbell & Millar 

Sarah Schooner .... 25 ... .Alex. Ross 


Dove Schooner .... 26 .... John Oliver 

Trial Schooner .... 28 Alex. Campbell 

Ferronia Brig 109 Alex. Campbell 

Gleanor Schooner .... 79 .... Alex. Campbell 

Recovery Barque 400. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Growler Brig 106 Alex. Campbell 


Courier Brig 134. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Crion Brig 130 Alex. Campbell 

Tyre Brig 109 Alex. Campbell 

Messenger Barque 330. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Lady Harvey Brig 145. . . .Alex. Campbell 

J. Cumber Brig 1 17 .... Alex. Campbell 


Sterling Schooner .... 58 .... Alex. Campbell 

Emblem Brig 162 Alex. Campbell 

Inconstant Barque 517. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Hannah Brigantine . . . 149 .... Alex. Campbell 

Aurora Brig 161 .... Alex. Campbell 

Margaret Brig 148 .... Alex. Campbell 


Standard Barque 359. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Vine Brig 164 Alex. Campbell 

Wm. Molesworth Barque 468 .... Alex. Campbell 


Elizabeth Schooner .... 109 .... Alex. Campbell 

St. Lawrence "... Barque 362 .... Alex. Campbell 

Goojetat Brig 190. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Woodman Barque 440. . . .Alex. Campbell 


Castina Brigantine. . . . 135. . . .Alex. Campbell 

Hyades Brig 218 Alex. Campbell 

Jessie Brigantine . . . 167 .... Alex. Campbell 

Meteor Schooner .... 86 .... Alex. Campbell 

Transit Brig 195 Alex. Campbell 

Petrol Brigantine. . . 142. . . .Alex. Campbell 




Daring Brigantine. . . 131 Alex. Campbell 

Delegate Brig 248 Alex. Campbell 

Argentinus Barque 542 Alex. Campbell 

Harriet Brigantine ... 101 Alex. Campbell 

Cm-lew Schooner .... 51 .... Isaac Langille 


Victor Brigantine. . . 133 Alex. Campbell 

Little Pet Brigantine ... 60 Edward Kent 

Historia Barque 453 Alex. Campbell 

Hunter Brigantine . . . 136 .... Alex. Campbell 

Laurel Schooner .... 88 .... Alex. Campbell 

Oerona Brigantine. . . 146. . . .Arch. Campbell 


Sovereign Schooner. ... 44. .. .Geo. Matatall 

Warbler Brig 156. . . .Campbell & Millar 

Crybress Barque 405 .... Campbell & Millar 

Trial Schooner 28. .. .Geo. Millard 

Revivial Barque 452 .... Campbell & Millar 

Archibald Brig 226 Campbell & Millar 


Alecto Barque 272 Campbell & Millar 

Fortuna Brig 356. . . .John Millar 

Sterling Clipper Brigantine. . . 112. .. .Edward Kent 

Lily Dale Brigantine ... 93 Robert Logan 

Harmony Barque 457 .... Campbell & Millar 

Reward Brigantine . . . 144 .... Campbell & Millar 

McDuff Barque 374. . . .Arch. Patterson 


Ice King Brigantine . . . 100 .... Robert Logan 

Arabel Brig 234 D. & A. Campbell 

Dash Brigantine . . . 100 .... Edward Kent 

Nautilus Brigantine. . . 101. . . .Jas. McLearn 

Sir John Campbell .... Brigantine . . . 142 .... John Mockler 

A. G. Archibald Barque 381 D. A A. Campbell 

Black Agnes Schooner .... 58 .... Robert Purvis 

Roe Brigantine ... 106 .... Jas. McLearn 


Olivia Barque 279. . . .Arch. Patterson 

Sarah Jane Schooner .... 23 .... Hugh Hingley 

Sygnet Brigantine . . . 170 .... D. & A. Campbell 

Metor Flag Brigantine . . . 134 .... Robert Logan 

Argo Brigantine. . . 114. .. .Jas. McLearn 

Pioneer Brigantine. . . 190. . . .Edward Kent 

Rescue Brigantine. . . 110. . . .Wm. Blackwood 

Amateur Barque 239. . . .A. Campbell 

Prima Donna Brig 125 .... Robert Logan 


Glide Birg 187 J. Millar & D. A. Campbell 

Lilian Brig 258 ... Arch. Patterson 

Anenome Brigantine. . . 170. . . .D. & A. Campbell 

Advance Brigantine . . . 154 ... Arch . Campbell 

Commissiary Brigantine . . . 143 .... Robert Logan 



Gem Brigantine. . . 168. . . . Jas. McLearn 

Martin I. Wilkens. . . .Brigantine. . . 184. . . .John Mockler 

Kitty Clyde Brigantine. . . 129 Edward Kent 

Rover's Bride Brigantine. . . 153. . . .Jas. Purvis 

Reindeer Brigantine. . . 147. . . .Wm. Blackwood 

Holly Hock Brigantine. . . 152 Chas. Reilly 

Thomas Wright Brigantine. . . 144 B. F. McKay 

Oriental Brigantine. . . 132. . . .Arch. Patterson 

Success Brigantine. . . 122. . . .Arch. Campbell 


Princess Schooner. ... 80. .. .Arch. Patterson 

Jessie Brown Brig 113 .... Robert Logan 

Sneezer Brig 128 .... Arch. Campbell 

Havelock Brigantine. . . 110. .. .Edward Kent 

Kate Schooner. . . . 50. . . .D. A. Campbell 


Rose Bud Schooner. ... 28. .. .John Langille 

Lovely Mary Schooner .... 38. .. .Robt. Logan 

Ranger Schooner. ... 24. .. .Peter Matatall 

Francais. Brigantine. . . 133 .... D. & A. Camp*bell 

Mary Joyce Schooner. ... 60. . . .B. F. McKay. 

Sun Burst Brigantine. . . 222. . . .John Mockler 

Sarah Ann Brigantine . . 143. . . .Chas. Reilly 

Lord Clyde Brigantine. . . 134. . . .Robt. Logan 

S. May Schooner. ... 54. . . .D. & A. Campbell 


Rosalie Schooner. ... 46. .. .Robt. Logan 

Elsie Schooner .... 55 .... D. & A. Campbell 

Mary Jane Schooner. ... 50. .. .Chas. Reilly 

May Jane Schooner. ... 67. . . .D. & A. Campbell 

John Bull Brigantine. . . 136. . . .Edward Kent 

Renfrew Brigantine. . . 124. . . .Robt. Logan 


Tangier Brigantine, . . 131 . . . .Chas. Reilly 

Undaunted Brigantine. . 166. . . .Edward Kent 

Tersina Brig 244. . . .Arch. Campbell 

Glentiret Brigantine. . 158. . . .Robt. Logan 


Rising Sun Schooner .... 40 .... Neil Ramsey 

Dunbar Castle Schooner. ... 113. .. .Robt. Purvis 

Bella Mary Barque 261 D. & A. Campbell 

Ariel Brigantine. . . 143. . . .Edward Kent 

Anna Bell Brigantine. . . 153. . . .Robt. Logan 

Clansman Barque 467 .... D. & A. Campbell 

Volunteer Brigantine . . . 157 . . . .Chas. Reilly 

Mary Jane Brigantine . . . 144 .... Robt. Logan 


Glen Roy Barque 334 D, & A. Campbell 

Ariadne Barque 375 .... Edward Kent 

Laureate Barque 370. . . .Arch. Patterson 

Example Brigantine . . . 183 .... Robt. Purvis 

Staffa Barque 309 D. & A. Campbell 

Gertrude Brigantine. . . 133. .. .Chas. Reilly 



Glen Tilt Barque 323 D. & A. Campbell 

Cabot Brigantine. . . 126. . . .Robt. Purvis 

Bessie Brigantine. . . 143. . . .Edward Kent 


Rosetta Brigantine ... 291 .... Arch. Patterson 

Harold Schooner. ... 85. .. .Wm. Buckler 

Sir R. G. McDonnell. . Ship 613 .... D. & A. Campbell 

Bertha Brigantine . . . 257 .... Robt. Logan 

Maud Brigantine ... 168 .... Edward Kent 

Elsey Brigantine ... 158 .... Robert Purvis 

Clara Jane Schooner .... 69. . . .D. & A. Campbell 

Excelsior Brigantine . . . 128 Robt. Bryden 

Susan Brigantine ... 134 .... Chas. Reilly 

Glencairn Barque 351. . . .D. & A. Campbell 

Harmony Schooner. . . . 85. . . .D. & A. Campbell 


Lillie M Barque 349 Arch. Campbell 

Dundanah Schooner .... 71 .... Chas. Reilly 

King of Tyre Barque 259 .... Robt. Logan 

Fanny Lewis Barque 402 Robt. Purvis 

Esk Brigantine . . . 167 Edward Kent 

Rose M Barque 366 D. & A. Campbell 


Delta Brigantine . . . 153 .... Edward Kent 

No Name Brigantine. . . 218 D. & A. Campbell 

Anna Bell Schooner. ... 30 Jer. & Ad. Embree 

Secret Brigantine ... 117 Robt. Purvis 

Glennivis Barque 391 D. & A. Campbell 

Janet Forbes Barque 412. ... D. & A. Campbell 


Olivia Schooner .... 40. . . . Wm. Buckler 

Geo. Walker Barque 414 D. & A. Campbell 

Glenrallock Barque 587. . . .D. & A. Campbell 

Isabella* Schooner 50 Millar & Rettie 


Wenonal Barque 669 D. & A. Campbell 

Wahsatch Barque 480 D. & A. Campbell 


Maggie Schooner .... 20. ... Saml. Chambers 

Two Sisters Schooner .... 58 .... Murphy, Mingo & Ramsey 


G. A. Pryke Brigantine . . . 128 .... Murphy, Mingo & Ramsey 

Jumma Ship 1000 D. & A. Campbell 

Ocean Lily Schooner .... 113 .... D. Redmond 

Trial Schooner. ... 52 Murphy, Mingo & Ramsey 

*This was the Millar vessel which was lost with all on board. She is given here as 
built in '69. From sources that are most reliable the writer has learned that she was 
built and wrecked in the late fall of '68. It is not understood why she was not registered 
till '69. 



Phenora Schooner . . . 

Ashantee Barque 

Sterling Brigantine . . 

Susan King Schooner . . . 

Maud Brigantine . . 

Edith Carmichael Barque 

. 36. 
. 347. 



. 239. 

. .Jas., Jno. & D. Chambers 
..D. & A.Campbell 
. .D. Redmond 

. .Hugh McPherson 

. .D. Redmond 

. . D. & A. Campbell 

John T. Ives Brigantine. 

James Semple Schooner. . 

Promenader. . . .Schooner. . 

. 371. 
. 63. 

Minnie Carmichael . . . Barque . 

. .D. & A. Campbell 

. . Roberts 

. .D. Redmond 

. .D. & A. Campbell 

. 900. 

Etta Schooner .... 107 .... Jas. Semple et al 

Lairg Schooner .... 99 .... Alex. Matheson 

Ceteway Schooner .... 20. ... Ant. McBurnie 


Lady Francklin Schooner .... 77 .... Alex. Wetherbie 

Margaret Ann Schooner. ... 53. .. .Wm. Buckler 

Jagc Schooner .... 28 .... Chas. Reid 

Athlete Schooner 53. .. .Alex. Wetherbie 

Florence C Schooner .... 98 .... J. W. Cassidy 

McClure Schr (tern).. . 190 Alex. Wetherbie 

Unity Schr (tern). . . 248 Alex. Wetherbie 

Al ; ce Matatall Schooner 16 Hugh Matatall 

Haael W . . Schooner . . 33 Alex. Wetherbie. 






Commanding Officer: Wm. Campbell, Esq., 1841. 


Geo. Patriquin 


John Shannon 
Wm. Peirce 
Solomon Waugh 
John Wilson 
Gavin Currie 
Chas. ReiUy 
Daniel McLelland 
Jas. McKeen 
Thps. Heuchan 
Neil Ramsey 
Geo. Morrison 
Jas. Waugh 
Jas. Brown 
Chas. Cutten 
Robt. McConnell 
Wm. Smith 
Alex Lyons 
Daniel Waugh 
Welwood Waugh 
John Pride 
Robt. Blackwood 
Stewart McConnell 
Joseph McDonald 
Wm. Fraser 
Thos. Roberts 
John Martial 
Matthew Carrol 
William Roberts 
David Cunninghan 


Daniel Hurley 
John Huddon 
Daniel McDonald 
John Simpson 
John Suliyan 
Joseph Spinney 
John Mclntosh 
Jos. Ryan 
David McConnell 
Stephen Rood 

George Waugh 
Jas. Johnston 

Henry Roberts 
John Millard 
Wm. Henderson 
Daniel Henderson 
Roderick McDonald Sr. 
Roderick McDonald Jr. 
Duncan McDonald 
Levi Graci 
Thos Slade 
John Millar 
Robert Joice 
Morris Spinney 
Jacob Spinney 
Welwood Johnston 
Geo. Johnston 
Absolem Cole 
Wm. Write 
Robert Bryden 
Michael Forrister 
Wm. Ryan 
Jas. Grant 
John McDougal 
David Fulton 
Wm. Higgins 
Chas. Higgins 
Chas. Adams 
John Irvine 
Joseph Davis 
Hector Fraser 
Robert Cuttin 
Jas. Chaimbers 
Daniel Cassidy 
Jas. McBurney 
Michael White 
Jas. Brown 
Robert Smith 
Peter Wetherby 
David Matatal Jr. 
Peter Matatal 
Robt. McCollum 
Wm. Dumphy 
Daniel Chambers 
Geo. B. Johnston 

The above names are spelled as they appeared in the original muster roll. 
Names in blank are not legible. 

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University of Toronl 

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